How Tungsten Carbide is helping modern aircraft fly better

Ever since the discovery of Tungsten Carbide, a lot of industries, including the aviation industry, has adopted the material due to its unique properties and have found numerous applications for it. Tungsten Carbide is an alloy of Tungsten and Carbon (in the form of carbide), where tungsten is used to ‘cement’ carbides, causing the material to combine the strength of tungsten with the hardness of carbide, and the resultant material bearing properties that are only second to diamond in terms of hardness. Tungsten Carbide has become an important engineering material and Graf Hartmetall GmbH is one of the companies ensuring that manufacturers in whole Europe have access to top quality Tungsten Carbide products suitable for any application.

The aviation industry is one of the largest consumers of Tungsten Carbide in the world; this is because the material is best suited for aircraft applications where strength and wear resistance are important factors in material selection. Numerous Researches and tests have shown that Tungsten Carbide is helping aeronautics engineers dare the extremes of aircraft designs because of the properties being offered by the material, and engineers are applying it in several ways to make aircraft fly better. Here is how:

 

Superior Wear and Corrosion resistance

The aerospace industry is one that is particularly demanding of materials with high wear and corrosion resistance. The countless numbers of moving parts in aircraft warrant that the components are made of materials that can resist the frictional forces between the moving parts and also be able to withstand exposure to chemical products that can initiate corrosion. Several materials and processes have been developed in the past to curtail the occurrence of wear and corrosion, such as aluminum, titanium, and magnesium alloys, and the High Chromium Plating (HCP) process was the most employed to protect materials. The emergence of the benefits that Tungsten Carbide offers made it a material of choice as a replacement in some applications and processes, especially the advanced coating of metallic components.

Tungsten Carbide Processes such as the High-Velocity Oxy-Fuel (HVOF) and the Low-temperature Chemical Vapor deposition (CVD) are now aviation industry standards for coating of components such as fuel metering valves on aircraft, backward thrust rods, pins, bushing, bearings, hooks, catches, landing gear, flaps track and plate strips, etc. This coated layer of tungsten carbide, which Graf Hartmetall GmbH distributes across Europe, improves the wear and corrosion resistance of the components in a magnitude close to 14 times the stainless steel. The Tungsten Carbide coating also improves the temperature resistance of the material, meaning they can retain their strength and structure at elevated temperatures.

Improved fatigue life

Tungsten Carbide is a very hard and fairly tough material, which makes it suitable in applications where fatigue control is important, such as the landing gears and jet engines. For instance, Tungsten Carbide coating is used in the Jet engines of the Typhoon and F16 aircraft.

Tungsten carbide coatings have been widely accepted as a practical, technical, and commercial solution to improving the fatigue life of aircrafts components, thereby increasing the service life of the components. The improved service life of components implies that aircraft can offer better services, for instance, the improved landing gears will make takeoff and landing more comfortable for the passengers aboard, while the improved engine can increase the speed attainable and shorten the travel time.

Tungsten carbide has been widely accepted in the aviation industry mainly because it is helping aircraft perform better. Just like how medical engineering has embraced Tungsten Carbide as the material of choice for the manufacture of surgical equipment, the aviation industry has found numerous applications for Tungsten Carbide too, so are other industries in need of a material that can be hard and tough when they needed it to be. Where do you use Tungsten Carbide?