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A brown refractory powder that is used in various alloys. tantalum carbide powder is hard, brittle, and has metallic electrical conductivity. It is often processed through sintering, and it improves oxidation resistance, hot-hardness, and temperature strength. It is also a component in various refractory ceramic materials.
In one embodiment, a method for manufacturing tantalum carbide involves forming a ceramic tantalum carbide artifact with tungsten-rhenium and carbon particles in a tantalum carbide matrix. The material is sintered by hot pressing to form a ceramic article with high thermal shock and mechanical erosion resistance. The tungsten-rhenium and carbon particle sizes are preferable less than 100 mesh. The tungsten-rhenium particles are preferable elongate with a length to thickness ratio of at least 2/1.
Typical applications for the resulting powder include forming wear surface parts and coatings to resist fretting, abrasion, cavitation, and particle erosion in industrial applications such as cyclones, fan blades, turbines, liners, chutes, and conveyors. It is also used in industrial furnaces and as a refractory for steel molds.
The material can be produced by solid carburization or gaseous carburization, with the latter being more scalable than the former. The gaseous carburization process utilizes hexane as a fuel to control the reaction temperature, and the powders are characterized with respect to their phase purity and morphology with X-ray diffraction, dynamic light scattering, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM, MIRA3-LM, TESCAN, Brno, Czech Republic). During the carburization, the hexane is purified to remove hydrocarbon contaminants that would otherwise interfere with the oxidation of the powders and with synthesis of carbide compounds.