Zirconium carbide (ZrC) is an extremely hard refractory ceramic material commercially used in tool bits for cutting tools It is usually processed by sintering It has the appearance of a gray metallic powder with cubic crystal structure It is highly corrosion resistant
Like most carbides of refractory metals zirconium carbide is sub-stoichiometric i.e. it contains carbon vacancies At carbon contents higher than approximately ZrC0.98 the material contains free carbon
ZrC reacts with water and acids and is pyrophoric
The mixture of zirconium carbide and tantalum carbide is an important cermet material
Zirconium carbide can be used as refractory coatings in nuclear reactors Zirconium carbide is used extensively as Coating of uranium dioxide and thorium dioxide of nuclear fuel The coating is usually deposited by thermal chemical vapor deposition in a fluidized bed reactor
It is also used as an abrasive in metal cladding in cermets incandescent filaments and cutting tools
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