Carbides are compounds in which the anion is one or more carbon atoms. Most metals form carbide compounds, though not all--indium and gallium, for example, do not. American Elements' manufacturing emphasizes production of metallic carbide materials including boron carbide, cobalt carbide, chromium carbide, hafnium carbide, molybdenum carbide, niobium carbide, tantalum carbide, titanium carbide, vanadium carbide, zirconium carbide, and numerous others. Metallic carbide materials are marketed under the tradename AE Carbides™.
Like diamond, a pure carbon compound, carbide compounds tend to be extremely hard, refractory and resistant to wear, corrosion and heat, making them excellent candidates for coatings for drills and other tools. They often have other valuable properties in combination with toughness, such as electrical conductivity, low thermal expansion and abrasiveness.
Some notable carbides include:
Chromium carbide: A typical example of a carbide compound that combines the refractory and hardness of carbides with some other property attributable to the cation. In this case, the anti-corrosive properties of chromium. Chromium carbide is used extensively in aerospace materials, high temperature drilling parts, welding electrodes and in other high temperature corrosive environments.
Hafnium carbide: Combining the high refractive index of both the element hafnium and of carbides generally, HfC is the most refractory simple binary compound, with a melting temperature of 3,890 ºC.
Silicon carbide: Combines the refractory and hardness of carbides with high thermal conductivity, creating a stiff low thermal expansion material.
Tungsten carbide: The most commonly used of the carbides is tungsten carbide which, when combined with one or more other transition metal carbides, produces the hardest and least costly cutting drills and tools.