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New type Tungsten Boride Superhard Material

Posted by: Chris Na 2021-10-25 Comments Off on New type Tungsten Boride Superhard Material

New type tungsten Boride Superhard Material

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Category: Tungsten’s News
Published on Tuesday, 28 August 2018 18:09

Recently, a team of international scientists reported a new type of superhard material that can be used in drilling, machine manufacturing and other fields. It is a kind of compound based on tungsten boride. After being Research has confirmed that the newly-developed tungsten boride is superior to the WC-Co hard alloy composite materials and synthetic diamond materials which are currently widely used.

Superhard materials have widespread applications on a lot of fields such as drilling, machine manufacturing, metal processing, national defense industry and medicine. Although diamond owns the highest hardness, it is relatively rare and precious. Even for man-made diamonds, the cost is unaffordable for many applications. Therefore, over the past 80 years, its competitor, WC-Co hard alloy drills has maintained its market dominance at an unbeatable price-quality ratio. 

Tungsten boride is a black or gray hexagonal crystalline powder that also has a high hardness and is often used as a wear resistant coating for wear parts and the semiconductor film. Previously, due to the difficulty in synthesis, there have been few reports and applications of tungsten boride at home and abroad.

Tungsten carbide materials has been applied to the production of drilling bit for decades. It includes drilling bit and perforation bullet (Perforating bullet is a drilling tool similar to armor-piercing projectile.) These materials either require higher pressure synthesis or have much lower fracture toughness. In short, they need at least two hard indicators, namely hardness and toughness.

As we all know, hardness and toughness are two parameters that are in opposition to each other in the metal and interactional. If the hardness is high, the toughness is low. The material will be easily   broken. Therefore, finding the balance point of two parameters is the object that scientists have been working on for many years. Scientists used the USPEX evolutionary algorithm to predict a new material—WB5, which can be synthesized under ambient pressure and successfully balance hardness and toughness of drilling bit. Compared with WC-Co hard alloy, the hardness of tungsten boride is 50% higher and its toughness is 20% lower. The new material is an unknown compound and can be easily obtained under normal conditions. The new material is currently being tested in a large Russian project and is expected to be used as a new material for drilling. 

Interestingly, the new material discovered by this team was confirmed by the analog synthesis of supercomputer systems. Previously they experimented with a lot of materials and inputted them into computer systems to predict and calculate the performance of these materials. In the end, this new substance was discovered. In short, tungsten boride system has been the subject of many experimental and theoretical studies, but it is surprising that the newly discovered tungsten boride compound has not been discovered until now. Is tungsten boride material competitive with WC-Co hard alloy material which has been widely applied for a century?

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