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Acta Metall Sin  2020, Vol. 56 Issue (7): 1015-1024    DOI: 10.11900/0412.1961.2019.00400
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Effect of TaC Content on Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of WC-TiC-TaC-Co Cemented Carbide
HE Shuwen1, WANG Minghua2, BAI Qin1(), XIA Shuang1, ZHOU Bangxin1
1. Institute of Materials, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200072, China
2. Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. , Ltd. , Shanghai 201900, China
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WC-Co cemented carbides, consisted of hard phase WC and ductile phase γ-phase, are usually prepared by a powder metallurgy and liquid phase sintering methodology. Due to the combined properties of high hardness and toughness, cemented carbides have high wear resistance and are widely used as machining, cutting, drilling, mining and forming tools. When the grain size of WC phase in WC-Co alloy is reduced to submicron, the hardness, toughness and strength of the material can be improved. TaC was considered as an effective additive of WC-Co based tools, for it made a great contribution to the enhancement of mechanical properties of WC-Co alloy. In this work, the effect of TaC on the microstructure and mechanical properties of WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbide were investigated by means of SEM, EDS, three-point bending apparatus and hardness tester. The results show that WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbide is mainly composed of three phases: WC phase, (W, Ti, Ta)C phase and γ phase. With the increase of TaC content from 4.6% (mass fraciton) to 7.3%, the proportion of WC grains with the size of less than 0.5 μm increases; the proportion of (W, Ti, Ta)C grains with the size of larger than 1 μm increases, and the (W, Ti, Ta)C grains begin to aggregate; the density of the alloy first decreases then increases and decreases, and the variation tendencies of hardness and fracture toughness are consistent with the density; the transverse rupture strength of the alloy first increases and then decreases. WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbide with 6.3% TaC shows the best mechanical properties: the hardness, fracture toughness and transverse rupture strength are 1749 HV30, 10.2 MPa·m1/2and 2247 MPa, respectively.

Key words:  cemented carbide      grain size      mechanical property     
Received:  25 November 2019     
ZTFLH:  TG135  
Fund: National Natural Science Foundation of China(51671122);National Natural Science Foundation of China(51871144)
Corresponding Authors:  BAI Qin     E-mail:

Cite this article: 

HE Shuwen, WANG Minghua, BAI Qin, XIA Shuang, ZHOU Bangxin. Effect of TaC Content on Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of WC-TiC-TaC-Co Cemented Carbide. Acta Metall Sin, 2020, 56(7): 1015-1024.

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Table 1  Compositions of WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides
Fig.1  Schematics of three-point bending device (top view; unit: mm)
(a) support base (b) force indenter
Fig.2  SEM-BSE images of WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides with different TaC contents
(a) S4 (b) S5 (c) S6 (d) S7
Table 2  EDS results in Fig.2a
Fig.3  Grain size distributions of WC (a) and (W, Ti, Ta)C (b) in WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides
Fig.4  Effect of TaC content on the density and hardness of WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides
Fig.5  Effect of TaC content on the fracture toughness of WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides
Fig.6  Crack propagation morphologies of WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides
(a) S4 (b) S5 (c) S6 (d) enlarged view of area A (e) S7 (f) enlarged view of area B
Fig.7  Orientation distributions of WC grain in WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides
(a) S4 (b) S5 (c) S6 (d) S7
Fig.8  Effect of TaC content on the transverse rupture strength of WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides
Fig.9  Fracture morphologies of WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides (CNR—crack nucleation region, CPR—crack propagation region, FFR—fast fracture region)
(a) S4 (b) S5 (c) S6 (d) S7
Fig.10  Fracture morphology enlargements of WC-TiC-TaC-Co cemented carbides
(a) S4 (b) S5 (c) S6 (d) S7
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