What is Tantalum Carbide?
is a light brown metallic cubic crystalline powder, belonging to the sodium chloride type cubic crystal system. Tantalum carbide is also used as a cemented carbide sintered crystal grain growth inhibitor, which has a significant effect on inhibiting crystal grain growth. It has a density of 14.3g/cm3, is insoluble in water, hardly soluble in mineral acids, soluble in a mixed acid of hydrofluoric acid and nitric acid, and can be decomposed. Tantalum carbide has strong oxidation resistance and is easily melted and decomposed by potassium pyrosulfate. Tantalum carbide is highly conductive, with a resistance of 30Ω at room temperature, showing superconducting properties. It can be used in powder metallurgy, cutting tools, fine ceramics, chemical vapor deposition, hard wear-resistant alloy tools, tools, molds, and additives for wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant structural components to improve the toughness of the alloy. The sintered body of tantalum carbide is golden yellow and can be used as a watch decoration.
Tantalum carbide microhardness
The microhardness of the tantalum carbide
surface gradient composite material is tested from the surface to the matrix. The microhardness test is carried out every 50μm from the surface. From the distribution of the tested hardness, it can be seen that the surface microhardness value of the tantalum carbide surface gradient composite material is up to 2123HV0.02. The microhardness of the nano TaC layer is 1980-2025HV0.02, the microhardness of the micron TaC layer is 1750～2010HV0.02, and the microhardness of the TaC dispersion layer is 1640～1710HV0.02. As the distance from the surface increases, the microhardness of the TaC layer decreases, but its microhardness can still reach 5.5 to 7.0 times that of the gray cast iron matrix.
Tantalum carbide properties
The bonds between tantalum and carbon atoms in tantalum carbide are ionic. Metal bonds and covalent bonds are mixed, which are very complex bonds, and due to strong covalent components, these carbides are very hard and fragile materials. For example, TaC has a microhardness of 1600-2000 kg/mm2  (~9 Mohs) and an elastic modulus of 285 GPa, while the corresponding values of tantalum are 110 kg/mm2 and 186 GPa. The hardness, yield, and shear stress of tantalum carbide increase with the increase of carbon content in TaCx.
Tantalum carbide has metal conductivity regardless of its size and temperature. TaC can be transformed into a superconductor below 10.35 K.
The magnetic properties of TaCx change from diamagnetism with x≤0.9 to paramagnetism with "x"≥0.9. Although HfCx has the same crystal structure as TaCx, the opposite behavior is still observed (magnetism decreases as x increases).
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