The 3 Forms of Tungsten Carbide Blog Header - Complete Carbide

What Are the 3 Forms of Tungsten Carbide?

As a machine shop owner or recycler of carbide, you need to be aware of the different forms this incredible material can take. If you only know to look for solid carbide scraps, for instance, you could be leaving a ton of money on the table.

In this article, we’ll discuss the three most common forms of tungsten carbide: solid carbide, carbide powder, and carbide sludge. For each one, we’ll also discuss where to find it and what kind of resale value you can expect.

Let’s begin.


Solid carbide is by far the most common form of carbide. It typically comes in either a solid block, carbide rod, standard tool blank (STB) strip, or wire form. Solid carbide is often used for a variety of industrial purposes such as machining and tool cutting. It is also used as a hardened material in the production of specialized products in several different industries, from surgical instruments and munitions to sports equipment and jewelry.

Where can I find solid carbide?

Most machine shops will have solid carbide as a waste stream. You can also find solid carbide at scrap yards, certain hardware stores, or online carbide retailers, and is usually priced around $30 per pound.

How do I sell solid carbide?

Any metal recycler that takes carbide will accept your solids.

What is the resale value of solid carbide?

Solid tungsten carbide has a current resale value of $5–$10 per pound.


Carbide sludge, also known as grinding sludge, is a less common form of carbide that is created as a byproduct during the manufacturing process when solid carbide is dissolved in acid. It is typically sold as a slurry or paste and can be used for various grinding and cutting applications.

Where can I find carbide sludge?

Carbide sludge can be found at machine shops, recycling centers, or purchased directly from online retailers. It is generally less expensive than solid carbide, with prices ranging from $10–$30 per pound.

How do I sell carbide sludge?

While carbide sludge is recyclable, not all facilities are capable of processing it. We recommend calling to confirm with your recycler before making the trip.

What is the resale value of carbide sludge?

The value of your sludge will be determined by the proportion of carbide to impurities. The higher the carbide concentration in your sludge, the heavier it will be. For example, a 40-pound gallon of sludge should have a lot of carbide, whereas a 20-pound gallon may not contain enough carbide to be recycled. Only after analysis can the recycler determine the carbide content as well as the final price.


Carbide powder is a fine, dust-like form of carbide and is the least common type you’ll find. Created during the manufacturing process, it’s the result of solid carbide being crushed down into powder form. This powder can be used for various purposes such as making cemented carbide or metal-ceramic composites, or the production of tungsten carbide tools and dies. It can also be used for welding and brazing because it has a lower melting point than solid carbide.

Where can I find carbide powder?

Carbide powder can be found as a waste stream at machine shops or purchased through specialty metal suppliers or online merchants. Carbide powder is generally more expensive than solid carbide, with current prices ranging from $50–$200 per pound.

How do I sell carbide powder?

Like with sludge, carbide powder is recyclable, but not all facilities will accept it, so be sure to confirm with them first. The good news is that carbide powder is much easier to separate out than sludge, which means recyclers will take much lower purities, sometimes as low as 20% tungsten.

What is the resale value of carbide powder?

Again, the value of your scrap carbide powder will depend heavily on its percentage of contaminants. Thus, the market value you get quoted could be anywhere from $10–$50 per pound.


Now that you know about the different forms of carbide, you can more easily spot and sell this valuable material. Are you not sure if what you have is true carbide? Read our recent guide on how to identify carbide scraps from other metals.

No matter which form of carbide you have, recycling it is a great way to reduce waste and earn a bit of extra money on the side. At Complete Carbide, we will happily take your solid, sludge, or powdered carbide off your hands. Contact us today for more information and to discuss a quote.

Once you’ve sold your scraps and turned a hefty profit, it’s time to purchase more stock for your shop. If you want the highest quality tungsten carbide at competitive prices, look no further than Complete Carbide. Check out our full inventory of carbide rods and STB strips today.

Share this!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter