You are here

Reduction of Tungsten in Cemented Carbide Manufacturing Tooling

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0020727
Agency Tracking Number: 0000261172
Amount: $1,149,607.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 06c
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-08-23
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-08-22
Small Business Information
631 Barbrow Lane
United States
DUNS: 964860451
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Drew Spradling
 (865) 966-2170
Business Contact
 Drew Spradling
Phone: (865) 966-2170
Research Institution

Cemented Tungsten Carbide is an important material for the USA and is used in a wide variety of products and manufacturing processes. The material is typically produced by mixing fine powders of tungsten carbide with fine cobalt metal powder. Important applications are wearresistant manufacturing tooling such as die and punches, mining and roadway milling bits and machining inserts for milling and turning. Tungsten and Cobalt are both listed as critical materials that are strategically important to the United States yet are highly reliant on imports in the US supply chain. It would be a strategic advantage if the amount of Tungsten and Cobalt could be reduced by utilizing a material that exhibits properties as good as or better than cobaltcemented tungsten carbide. In the past, ceramic material such as boron carbide or alumina toughened zirconia have been utilized but ultimately prove too brittle for most applications. Reductions of the amount of W and Co used in industrial and commercial applications can be realized by a combination of directly reducing the amount of strategically important materials required in a product and by increasing the life of the product. Using our novel synthesis route to create an alternative material for these applications, we are exploring its superhard properties in comparison to WC, using a cemented binder system that does not contain cobalt. Millennitek has successfully synthesized a superhard material in a continuous process, suited for large volume industrial production. The goal is to manufacture this material and develop a cementation process that will yield a material with a hardness significantly greater CoWC with comparable mechanical strengths to CoWC. In the Phase I effort, we were successful in demonstrating a noncobalt cemented material with 60% greater hardness, and requiring 68% less tungsten. In the Phase II project, we are planning to scale the process to demonstrate even higher hardness, more uniform microstructure, optimized strength values, and perform a commercial case study with a manufacturer of hard metal tooling. In addition to tooling applications, there are other significant potential area’s where this material could be commercialized, including automotive, beverage, medical, mining, aerospace, defense and other industrial areas. The potential of the material to reduce the reliance on tungsten and cobalt will make the U.S. more competitive and free up strategic cobalt for other critical industries such as automotive batteries.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government