Statistical Optimization of Tungsten Carbide Synthesis Parameters

  • Grant C. WallaceEmail author
  • Jerome P. Downey
  • Jannette Chorney
  • Katie Schumacher
  • Trenin Bayless
Conference paper
Part of the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series book series (MMMS)


Commercial methods for synthesizing tungsten carbide require large energy inputs due to the high temperatures and grinding processes associated with production. In this study, tungsten carbide was synthesized by adsorbing tungstate anions from aqueous solutions onto an activated carbon matrix. The tungsten-loaded precursor was carburized under mixtures of hydrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide to produce tungsten carbide at temperatures significantly lower than most commercial operations. Tungsten carbide was synthesized at temperatures below 1000 °C with conversion to tungsten carbide exceeding 90%. The adsorption and carburization processes were modelled and optimized using experimental design techniques. The effects of time, temperature, initial tungsten concentration, and pH were considered for modelling adsorption behaviour, while carburization behaviour was modelled on the effects of time, temperature, carbon content, and reducing gas composition. Carburization products were characterized using X-ray diffraction and scanning election microscopy. The adsorption of tungstate anions was measured using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy.


Tungsten carbide Synthesis Statistical optimization 



Research was sponsored by the Army Research Laboratory and was accomplished under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-15-2-0020. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Army Research Laboratory or the US Government. The US Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation herein.


  1. 1.
    Total Materia, Metal Carbides, November 2006. [Online]. Available: Accessed 16 April 2016
  2. 2.
    Zaoxue Y, Mei C, Pei KS (2013) Nanosized tungsten carbide synthesized by a novel route at low temperature for high performance electrocatalysis. Sci Rep 3(1646):1–7Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brungs AJ, York AP, Claridge JB, Marquez-Alvarez C, Green ML (2000) Dry reforming of methane to synthesis gas over supported molybdenum carbide catalysts. Catal Lett 70(3–4):17–122Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Zawrah MF (2007) Synthesis and characterization of WC-Co nanocomposites by novel chemical method. Ceram Int 33:155–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Davidson CF, Alexander GB, Wadworth ME (1978) Initial kinetics of tungsten carburization by methane. Metall Trans B 9B:553–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ohashi K, Murakami K, Yamamoto K (1983) Adsorption behavior of tungsten (VI) onto activated carbon. The Jpn Soc Anal Chem 32:313–319Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cruywagen JJ, Pienaar AT (1989) The adsorption of tungsten(VI) on activated carbon from 1.0 M Na(H)Cl solution. Polyhedron 8(1):71–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Seegopaul P, McCandish LE, Shinneman FM (1997) Production capability and powder processing methods for nanostructured WC-Co powder. Int J Refract Metals Hard Mater 15(1–3):133–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wallace GC, Downey JP, Chorney J, Mallard A, Hutchins D (2017) Synthesis of carbide ceramics via reduction of adsorbed anions on an activated carbon matrix. In: 8th international symposium on high-temperature metallurgical processing, San Diego, CA, 2017Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wallace G, Downey J, Chorney J, Schumacher K, Mallard A (2018) Synthesis of nanocrystalline carbide ceramics via reduction of anion-loaded activated carbon precursors. In: 9th international symposium on high-temperature metallurgical processing, Phoenix, AZ, 2018Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grant C. Wallace
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jerome P. Downey
    • 1
  • Jannette Chorney
    • 1
  • Katie Schumacher
    • 1
  • Trenin Bayless
    • 1
  1. 1.Montana Technological UniversityButteUSA

Personalised recommendations