Nano-Micro Letters

A Review on Binderless Tungsten Carbide: Development and Application

Jialin Sun1, *, Jun Zhao2, Zhifu Huang1, *, Ke Yan3, *, Xuehui Shen4, Jiandong Xing1, Yimin Gao1, Yongxin Jian1, Hejie Yang1, Bo Li1

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Nano-Micro Lett. (2020) 12: 13

First Online: 30 December 2019 (Review)


*Corresponding author. E-mail: jialinsun@xjtu.edu.cn (Jialin Sun); hzf@xjtu.edu.cn (Zhifu Huang); yanke@mail.xjtu.edu.cn (Ke Yan)





WC-Co alloys have enjoyed great practical significance owing to their excellent properties during the past decades. Despite the advantages, however, recently there have been concerns about the challenges associated with the use of Co, i.e., price instability, toxicity, and properties degeneration, which necessitates the fabrication of binderless tungsten carbide (BTC). On the other hand, BTC or BTC composites, none of them, to date has been commercialized and produced on an industrial scale, but only used to a limited extent for specialized applications, such as mechanical seals undergoing high burthen as well as high temperature electrical contacts. It is still not clear why BTC or BTC composites have not been able to replace WC-Co at a greater extent. There are two challenges in developing BTC: fully densifying the sintered body together with achieving a high toughness. Thus, this review applies towards comprehensively summarize the current knowledge of sintering behavior, microstructure, and mechanical properties of BTC, highlighting the densification improving strategies as well as toughening methods, so as to provide reference for those who would like to enhance the performance of BTC with better reliability advancing them to further wide applications and prepare the material in a way that is environment friendly, harmless to human health, and low in production cost. This paper reviews that the fabrication of highly dense and high-performance BTC is economically and technically feasible. The properties of BTC can be tailored by judiciously selecting the chemical composition coupled with taking into careful account the effects of processing techniques and parameters.



Binderless tungsten carbide; Sintering; Densification; Toughening; Mechanical properties

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