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Tungsten Carbide – Density – Strength – Hardness – Melting Point

About Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten carbide is a very dense carbide containing equal parts of tungsten and carbon atoms. In its most basic form, tungsten carbide is a fine gray powder, but it can be pressed and formed into shapes through a process called sintering for use in industrial machinery, cutting tools, abrasives, armor-piercing shells and jewellery. Tungsten carbide is approximately twice as stiff (high modulus of elasticity) as steel. Tungsten carbide has very high impact resistance and it has very high strength for a material so hard and rigid. Compressive strength is higher than virtually all melted and cast or forged metals and alloys. With temperature increase to 1400°F, tungsten carbide retains much of its room temperature hardness.

tungsten carbide properties density strength price


Name Tungsten Carbide
Phase at STP solid
Density 14500 kg/m3
Ultimate Tensile Strength 370 MPa
Yield Strength 330 MPa
Young’s Modulus of Elasticity 600 GPa
Brinell Hardness 25000 BHN
Melting Point 2867 °C
Thermal Conductivity 110 W/mK
Heat Capacity 292 J/g K
Price 300 $/kg

Density of Tungsten Carbide

Typical densities of various substances are at atmospheric pressure. Density is defined as the mass per unit volume. It is an intensive property, which is mathematically defined as mass divided by volume:  ρ = m/V

In words, the density (ρ) of a substance is the total mass (m) of that substance divided by the total volume (V) occupied by that substance. The standard SI unit is kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3). The Standard English unit is pounds mass per cubic foot (lbm/ft3).

Density of Tungsten Carbide is 14 500 kg/m3.


Example: Density

Calculate the height of a cube made of Tungsten Carbide, which weighs one metric ton.


Density is defined as the mass per unit volume. It is mathematically defined as mass divided by volume: ρ = m/V

As the volume of a cube is the third power of its sides (V = a3), the height of this cube can be calculated:

density of material - equation

The height of this cube is then a = 0.41 m.

Density of Materials

Material Table - Density of Materials


Mechanical Properties of Tungsten Carbide

Strength of Tungsten Carbide

In mechanics of materials, the strength of a material is its ability to withstand an applied load without failure or plastic deformation. Strength of materials basically considers the relationship between the external loads applied to a material and the resulting deformation or change in material dimensions. In designing structures and machines, it is important to consider these factors, in order that the material selected will have adequate strength to resist applied loads or forces and retain its original shape.

Strength of a material is its ability to withstand this applied load without failure or plastic deformation. For tensile stress, the capacity of a material or structure to withstand loads tending to elongate is known as ultimate tensile strength (UTS). Yield strength or yield stress is the material property defined as the stress at which a material begins to deform plastically whereas yield point is the point where nonlinear (elastic + plastic) deformation begins. In case of tensional stress of a uniform bar (stress-strain curve), the Hooke’s law describes behaviour of a bar in the elastic region. The Young’s modulus of elasticity is the elastic modulus for tensile and compressive stress in the linear elasticity regime of a uniaxial deformation and is usually assessed by tensile tests.

See also: Strength of Materials

Ultimate Tensile Strength of Tungsten Carbide

Ultimate tensile strength of Tungsten Carbide is 370 MPa.

Yield Strength of Tungsten Carbide

Yield strength of Tungsten Carbide is 330 MPa.

Modulus of Elasticity of Tungsten carbide

The Young’s modulus of elasticity of Tungsten Carbide is 600 MPa.

Hardness of Tungsten Carbide

In materials science, hardness is the ability to withstand surface indentation (localized plastic deformation) and scratchingBrinell hardness test is one of indentation hardness tests, that has been developed for hardness testing. In Brinell tests, a hard, spherical indenter is forced under a specific load into the surface of the metal to be tested.

The Brinell hardness number (HB) is the load divided by the surface area of the indentation. The diameter of the impression is measured with a microscope with a superimposed scale. The Brinell hardness number is computed from the equation:

brinell hardness number - definition

Brinell hardness of tungsten carbide is approximately 25000 BHN (converted).

See also: Hardness of Materials


Example: Strength

Assume a plastic rod, which is made of Tungsten Carbide. This plastic rod has a cross-sectional area of 1 cm2. Calculate the tensile force needed to achieve the ultimate tensile strength for this material, which is: UTS = 370 MPa.


Stress (σ) can be equated to the load per unit area or the force (F) applied per cross-sectional area (A) perpendicular to the force as:

strength of material - equation

therefore, the tensile force needed to achieve the ultimate tensile strength is:

F = UTS x A = 370 x 106 x 0.0001 = 37 000 N

Strength of Materials

Material Table - Strength of Materials

Elasticity of Materials

Material Table - Elasticity of Materials

Hardness of Materials

Material Table - Hardness of Materials  

Thermal Properties of Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten Carbide – Melting Point

Melting point of Tungsten Carbide is 2867 °C.

Note that, these points are associated with the standard atmospheric pressure. In general, melting is a phase change of a substance from the solid to the liquid phase. The melting point of a substance is the temperature at which this phase change occurs. The melting point also defines a condition in which the solid and liquid can exist in equilibrium. For various chemical compounds and alloys, it is difficult to define the melting point, since they are usually a mixture of various chemical elements.

Tungsten Carbide – Thermal Conductivity

Thermal conductivity of Tungsten Carbide is 110 W/(m·K).

The heat transfer characteristics of a solid material are measured by a property called the thermal conductivity, k (or λ), measured in W/m.K. It is a measure of a substance’s ability to transfer heat through a material by conduction. Note that Fourier’s law applies for all matter, regardless of its state (solid, liquid, or gas), therefore, it is also defined for liquids and gases.

The thermal conductivity of most liquids and solids varies with temperature. For vapors, it also depends upon pressure. In general:

thermal conductivity - definition

Most materials are very nearly homogeneous, therefore we can usually write k = k (T). Similar definitions are associated with thermal conductivities in the y- and z-directions (ky, kz), but for an isotropic material the thermal conductivity is independent of the direction of transfer, kx = ky = kz = k.

Tungsten Carbide – Specific Heat

Specific heat of Tungsten Carbide is 292 J/g K.

Specific heat, or specific heat capacity, is a property related to internal energy that is very important in thermodynamics. The intensive properties cv and cp are defined for pure, simple compressible substances as partial derivatives of the internal energy u(T, v) and enthalpy h(T, p), respectively:

where the subscripts v and p denote the variables held fixed during differentiation. The properties cv and cp are referred to as specific heats (or heat capacities) because under certain special conditions they relate the temperature change of a system to the amount of energy added by heat transfer. Their SI units are J/kg K or J/mol K.


Example: Heat transfer calculation

Tugsten Carbide - Thermal ConductivityThermal conductivity is defined as the amount of heat (in watts) transferred through a square area of material of given thickness (in metres) due to a difference in temperature. The lower the thermal conductivity of the material the greater the material’s ability to resist heat transfer.

Calculate the rate of heat flux through a wall 3 m x 10 m in area (A = 30 m2). The wall is 15 cm thick (L1) and it is made of Tungsten Carbide with the thermal conductivity of k1 =110 W/m.K (poor thermal insulator). Assume that, the indoor and the outdoor temperatures are 22°C and -8°C, and the convection heat transfer coefficients on the inner and the outer sides are h1 = 10 W/m2K and h2 = 30 W/m2K, respectively. Note that, these convection coefficients strongly depend especially on ambient and interior conditions (wind, humidity, etc.).

Calculate the heat flux (heat loss) through this wall.


As was written, many of the heat transfer processes involve composite systems and even involve a combination of both conduction and convection. With these composite systems, it is often convenient to work with an overall heat transfer coefficientknown as a U-factor. The U-factor is defined by an expression analogous to Newton’s law of cooling:

Heat transfer calculation - Newton’s law of cooling

The overall heat transfer coefficient is related to the total thermal resistance and depends on the geometry of the problem.

Assuming one-dimensional heat transfer through the plane wall and disregarding radiation, the overall heat transfer coefficient can be calculated as:

Heat transfer calculation - U-factor


The overall heat transfer coefficient is then: U = 1 / (1/10 + 0.15/110 + 1/30) = 7.42 W/m2K

The heat flux can be then calculated simply as: q = 7.42 [W/m2K] x 30 [K] = 222.72 W/m2

The total heat loss through this wall will be: qloss = q . A = 222.72 [W/m2] x 30 [m2] = 6681.67 W

Melting Point of Materials

Material Table - Melting Point

Thermal Conductivity of Materials

Material Table - Thermal Conductivity

Heat Capacity of Materials

Material Table - Heat Capacity