Hard Metal Production by ERS: Processing Parameter Roles in Final Properties
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Electrical resistance sintering
Cemented carbide is a hard composite material, used widely in a variety of industries. The value of the global tungsten carbide market is expected to grow by 4.4% (compound annual growth rate) from 2017 to 2022. One of the main markets is in metal cutting and wear parts, where small pieces (or inserts), a few grams in weight, are used. Field-assisted sintering technique (FAST) technologies allow for the production of small blanks in a single step from powder, which are near final dimensions. Production cycles are very short. In this paper, one of the FAST processes, the ERS technology, is applied to obtain WC10Co parts. A review of the process variable effects on the final properties of the parts is accomplished. Final properties of a range of conventionally produced inserts are obtained, using 100 MPa compacting pressure, 80 MA/m2 of current density, and processing times of around 800 ms.