Tungsten carbide

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Tungsten carbide
Tungsten carbide.jpg
IUPAC name
Tungsten carbide
Other names
Tungsten(IV) carbide
Tungsten tetracarbide
Molar mass 195.85 g/mol
Appearance Grey-black lustrous solid
Odor Odorless
Density 15.6 g/cm3
Melting point 2,785–2,830 °C (5,045–5,126 °F; 3,058–3,103 K)
Boiling point 6,000 °C (10,830 °F; 6,270 K)
Solubility Insoluble in organic solvents
Vapor pressure ~0 mmHg
32.1 J·mol-1·K-1
Safety data sheet Sigma-Aldrich
Related compounds
Related compounds
Tantalum carbide
Titanium carbide
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Tungsten carbide is an inorganic compound of tungsten and carbon, with a chemical formula WC (the most common type) or W2C.

The term "Widia" is also used for tungsten carbide items.



Tungsten carbide is a very inert compound, most of the acids don't attack it except a mixture of HF /HNO3 above room temperature. It reacts with fluorine at room temperature, with chlorine at 400 °C (752 °F) and with hydrogen at its melting point.

When ground to a fine powder, it readily reacts in aqueous solutions of hydrogen peroxide.


Tungsten carbide is a hard, brittle grey-black solid, insoluble in any solvents and has good chemical resistance. It has a melting point of 2,870 °C (5,200 °F) and a boiling point of 6,000 °C (10,830 °F). Its hardness on the Mohs scale is 9. Tungsten carbine is also an electrical conductor.


Tungsten carbide can be found in many cutting tools, though it's not pure, it contains cobalt or nickel that serve as a binder.

Certain weights also contain tungsten carbide.

Rotating balls in ballpoint pens are made out of tungsten carbide or its alloy, though their small size means they're not a good source.

It is also used as a metal-like material in jewelry.

Tungsten carbide powder can be bought online.


WC can be prepared by reaction of tungsten metal and carbon at 1400–2000 °C.

It can also be produced by heating WO3 with graphite: directly at 900 °C or in hydrogen at 670 °C following by carburization in Ar at 1000 °C.


  • Make elemental tungsten
  • Catalyst
  • Tungsten carbide crucible for single crystal growth
  • Scratch glass



Tungsten carbide isn't very toxic, but inhalation of its dust can lead to fibrosis.


No precautions needed.


It can sometimes contain small amounts of heavy metals like cobalt, so it shouldn't be thrown readily.


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