What is Carbide-Tipped Anvil?

You may have heard “carbide-tipped anvil” several times when searching for micrometers especially when reading the detail product information. Also, you might realize that all the recommended micrometers for reloading we advise are carbide tipped on the measuring faces as well. For you who don’t know about it; you might more often hear steel, then it’s a good chance to read this article.

So what is it actually?

Carbide-tipped anvil is actually the anvil that its measuring face is layered with carbide material. Not only the anvil, but some other micrometers also have their spindle tip layered with carbide material. Even, carbide-tipped are found on both the anvil and the spindle.

Carbide is a compound that consists of carbon and another element that has less electronegative property; usually metallic elements. They commonly form a binary compound which means only consisting of two elements, “Carbide + Less Electronegative Element”.

The less electronegative elements vary. They could be tungsten, silicon, calcium, and etc. When it comes to tungsten especially, in which tungsten plus carbide forms tungsten carbide, it’s the compound that is used in the micrometer’s anvil.

Tungsten Carbide Vs. Steel

There is a lot to be said for tungsten carbide. Here are some important facts about it compared to its closest friend in terms of its use in micrometer, especially the measuring faces (anvil or/and spindle).

  1. Tungsten carbide has a hardness scale twice compared to steel and platinum. In the Mohs scale, tungsten carbide scores 9-9.5 and steel and platinum score 4-4.5. Even, the hardened steel cannot reach it, still scores 7.5-8 in Mohs scale.
  2. The density of tungsten carbide is 15.63 g/cm³. In contrast, the density of steel varies in a range7.75 and 8.05 g/cm³. In summary, tungsten carbide is approximately twice as dense as steel.
  3. Tungsten carbide’s melting point is 2,870 °C. On the other hand, steel’s melting point is 1370°C. It extremely powerfully is able to withstand in a high-temperature circumstance.
  4. The coefficient of thermal expansion of tungsten carbide is 5.5 µm·m−1·K−1, while steel is 33.0 ~ 39.0 µm·m−1·K−1. This coefficient is determinable to the micrometer’s accuracy when working on a harsh environment. In this case, the tungsten carbide is more resistant to stay in its length when receiving heat from the outside.

Tungsten Carbide Advantages and Uses

From the facts above, we now can conclude some the advantages of tungsten carbide compound:

  1. Carbide tungsten can withstand extremely high temperatures due to its melting point.
  2. It also increases surface looking and keep size far longer due to its hardness and density.
  3. It can be used as an outer layer to harden an object due to its hardness and density.
  4. It’s suitable to use as a measuring face due to its density and low coefficient of thermal expansion.
  5. Further, it lasts longer and retains against repetitive wear due to its density and hardness.

The use also spreads over some aspects: industrial machinery, cutting tools (a number of types of knives), abrasives, military (armor-piercing rounds), drilling tools (boring bits), writing tools (pens), measuring instruments (micrometers, dial indicator, test indicator), and jewelry (carbide rings).

Final Thought

Carbide tungsten is a great material. It has a wide range of advantages. For instance, to retain the wear on tools. Because of its physical property, the tools coating carbide tungsten last longer than the steel hardened tools. It extremely benefits for especially increasing rigidness and durability.

Micrometer’s anvil is also another use of tungsten carbide. Carbide-tipped anvil has to be one of the factors that determine your purchase of micrometers. It’s a cost-effective option due to its durability. In other words, it saves you money.

We have been leaving behind the old-fashioned steel anvil micrometers. Most micrometers today have used carbide. So, when you are in a fuzzy situation selecting two micrometers, one is steel and the other is carbide tipped anvil, then your final choice must be the carbide one.


  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tungsten_carbide
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbide
  • https://www.toolstoday.com/g-17-carbide-tipped-vs-steel-no-contest
  • https://education.jlab.org/qa/meltingpoint_01.html
  • http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Tables/thrcn.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_expansion

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