Cemented carbide is an old and well-known WC-based hardmetal, which has been widely applied in geo-engineering as drill buttons and various wear-resistant parts. In order to extend the service life of cemented carbide components and enhance their efficiency for rock drilling under various conditions, the recent research efforts have focused on their failure mechanisms and developing nanostructured, functionally graded and Co-free cemented carbides. With the advance in synthesizing nanosized powders and advent of electric field assisted fast sintering techniques, the consolidation of nanostructured and Co-free cemented carbides and even pure WC materials has been possible; and because of their high hardness and wear resistance, they are much promising in geo-engineering drilling. Functionally graded cemented carbide provides a combination of high wear resistance and toughness in a single component, which is also much favorable for geo-engineering drillers. In addition, by replacing the binder phase Co with Ni or carbide binder, and even without binder phase, the corrosion and oxidation of the resultant materials can be significantly improved without considerable deterioration of fracture toughness. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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