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Cemented carbides belong to a class of hard, wear-resistant, refractory materials in which the hard carbide particles are bound together, or cemented, by a soft and ductile metal binder. The performance of cemented carbide as a cutting tool lies between that of tool steel and cermets. Almost 50% of the total production of cemented carbides is used for nonmetal cutting applications. Their properties also make them appropriate materials for structural components, including plungers, boring bars, powder compacting dies and punches, high-pressure dies and punches, and pulverizing hammers. This article discusses the manufacture, microstructure, composition, classifications, and physical and mechanical properties of cemented carbides, as well as their machining and nonmachining applications. It is limited to tungsten carbide cobalt-base materials. The article examines new tool geometries, tailored substrates, and the application of thin, hard coatings to cemented carbides by chemical vapor deposition and physical vapor deposition for metal cutting applications.

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A.T. Santhanam, P. Tierney, J.L. Hunt, Cemented Carbides, Properties and Selection: Nonferrous Alloys and Special-Purpose Materials, Vol 2, ASM Handbook, By ASM Handbook Committee, ASM International, 1990, p 950–977,

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