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Superfine Tungsten Carbide Hardmetals

Inframat Corporation is developing a leading edge technology in the area of hardmetals (tungsten carbide/cobalt and its alloys) that enable exceptional hardness in end products comprised of these materials without concomitant loss in fracture toughness. This performance edge is achieved by an important innovation in the alloying of proprietary grain growth inhibitors with tungsten carbide powders, both for nanostructured WC/Co and superfine WC/Co. IMC is now developing industrial scale pilot plant capability to manufacture and sell these nanoscale and superfine alloyed powders under the trade names Nanalloy® and InfralloyTM. These proprietary tungsten carbide powder products can be sold as is for the thermal sprayed coatings industry or in bulk consolidated (sintered) form for the cutting tools and related industries.

Inframat’s technology is based on a chemical process for the synthesis of WC and WC/Co powders, in which the individual W, C, and/or Co precursors are intimately mixed at the molecular level, yielding a uniquely homogeneous product with exceptional high performance. IMC has developed exceptionally hard bulk consolidated composite materials, with high hardness. These sintered materials exhibit unparalleled fracture toughness at this level of hardness. These materials are compression sintered in inert gas or vacuum furnaces to form highly homogeneous monoliths. The hardness of the sintered products is found to be a function of cobalt content. Typically, cutting tool applications force the minimum Co content level to be above 6%, below which the material cannot be sintered. The extraordinary performance properties of superfine WC/Co include exceptional hardness, erosion and wear resistance without concomitant loss of ductility or fracture toughness.

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