Tantalum carbide is a hard material, which is often used in metalworking and aerospace industries. It has great properties such as good electrical conductivity, excellent hardness and thermal resistance. When combined with other metals, it forms a composite called refractory ceramic. This is a type of material which is used in the fuel cladding of nuclear reactors, in high-speed vehicles, and in the thermal protection systems of buildings.
The hardness of tantalum carbide increases when its carbon content is increased. Its melting point is 3880 degC. Tantalum carbide is widely used as a ceramic reinforcement in high-entropy alloys. In this application, it acts as a grain growth inhibitor. Another important application of tantalum carbide is as an additive to tungsten carbide and cobalt powder attritions.
Besides its use as an additive to tungsten carbide alloys, tantalum carbide is also added to steel molds used in the injection molding process of aluminum and aluminium alloys. Tantalum carbide provides a low-friction, wear-resistant surface to the mould. Also, this material has a very high melting point, which makes it a desirable material for aerospace industries.
It has a very attractive metallic luster, and is odorless. As a refractory ceramic, it is extremely resistant to heat, making it perfect for use in extreme environments. Tantalum carbide is sometimes used as a coating to protect the steel molds during the injection molding of aluminum alloys. Moreover, it is used in sharp tools such as cutting blades and tool bits.