Sintered tungsten carbide cutting tools were first introduced by Friedrich Krupp of Germany in 1927 under the name Widia (wie Diamant—like diamond). During World War II there was a tungsten shortage in Germany. It was found that tungsten in carbide cuts metal more efficiently than tungsten in high-speed steel so to economise on the use of tungsten, cemented carbides were used for metal cutting as much as possible.
Carbide tools are very abrasion resistant and can also withstand higher temperatures than standard high speed steel tools. Carbide cutting surfaces are often used for machining through materials such as carbon steel or stainless steel, as well as in situations where other tools would wear away, such as high-quantity production runs. Because carbide tools maintain a sharp cutting edge better than other tools, they generally produce a better finish on parts, and their temperature resistance allows faster machining. The material is usually called cemented carbide, hardmetal or tungsten-carbide cobalt: it is a metal matrix composite where tungsten carbide particles are the aggregate and metallic cobalt serves as the matrix. Manufacturers use tungsten carbide as the main material in some high-speed drill bits, as it can resist high temperatures and is extremely hard.
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