Highly carbide filled composite materials for the mining and drilling industry
The mining and drilling industry has a need for highly wear resistant large diameter drill heads. The manufacturing of such drill heads takes place by near net shape infiltration of a powder matrix using tungsten carbides with copper based infiltration alloys. The drill heads are exposed to different geologic formations which triggers a desire for very flexible design parameters resulting in a complex need for both high wear resistance, but also high bending strength as well as good repairability. Such contradictory needs have to be solved using adjusted carbide compositions. The paper covers an area where only little information has been published so far. It is written from an Industry point of view and presents the industrial production routine for the drill heads as well as the current state of the art material solutions. The influences of different types of carbides, particle sizes and compositions on the resulting properties will be discussed. Additionally, the paper will show recent challenges of the drilling industry resulting from the shale gas boom.