NIOBIUM CARBIDE - when resistance is necessary

Tantalum is twice as dense as steel, is highly ductile, very hard and features both thermal and electrical conductivity. Its melting point is 2,996°C. In addition, it is inert with respect to nearly all organic and anorganic compounds, so it is characterized by high degree of stability and resistance. The physical and chemical properties of niobium are similar to those of tantalum and niobium is also among the ductile transition metals.

Better performance for carbide tools

Tantalum carbides (TaC), niobium carbides (NbC) and the mixed  carbide tantalum niobium carbide (Ta,Nb)C are used to increase the performance of hard metal cutting tools that are very important due to their use in growth markets such as the automobile and aerospace industries. Tantalum niobium carbides make great contributions toward improvements in oxidation resistance, hot-hardness and high temperature strength as well as resistance to crater wear in steel processing. Thanks to their thermal conductivity, they also increase resistance to thermal cracking, which can occur due to thermal shock effects during milling, for example.

The tantalum niobium carbides produced by H.C. Starck are used mainly in the production of hard metal for steel processing in the ISO application group P with contents of 2 to 8 percent. In addition, in concentrations of about 0.2 to 2 percent they are used as grain growth inhibitors in tungsten carbide-cobalt (WC-Co). Moreover, our tantalum carbides and niobium carbides are used in the manufacture of cermets.

Particularly narrow grain size distribution, few impurities

The tantalum, niobium and tantalum niobium carbides produced by H.C. Starck are characterized by a particularly narrow grain size distribution and an extremely low level of impurities. Usually, the (Ta,Nb)C mixed crystals used in practical applications have varying ratios of tantalum to niobium. Depending on the application area of the tools produced by the hard metal manufacturers, H.C. Starck supplies binary composite carbide powders with ratios from (Ta,Nb)C 90/10 to (Ta,Nb)C 50/50.

Tantalum from certified suppliers from conflict-free sources

H.C. Starck only processes raw materials from ethically acceptable, conflict-free sources. This also applies for the procurement and processing of tantalum. We only purchase raw materials that meet the specifications of the OECD ("Due Diligence Guidelines for Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas"). Our company and our tantalum processing sites are certified in the context of the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) Validation Program of the independent Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).

Thanks to innovative recycling processes, we are able to reclaim tantalum from almost any type of scrap with a tantalum content of 1 to 99 percent, which also ensures the supply of raw materials and provides the customers of our tantalum-recycling program with greater independence from fluctuations in supply and price. As part of our “closed-loop-offer” we also accept used, recyclable tantalum containing products from our customers and reprocess them to produce high-performance tantalum powders.


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Product data sheet

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  • PD-1502_8