The Two Important Raw Materials of PDC Cutters

2022-03-30 Share

The Two Important Raw Materials of PDC Cutters


PDC cutter is a kind of super-hard material that compacts polycrystalline diamond with tungsten carbide substrate at ultra-high temperature and pressure.

PDC Cutter was invented firstly by General Electric (GE) in 1971. The first PDC Cutters for the oil and gas industry was done in 1973 and after 3 years of experimental and field testing, they are proven much more efficient than the crushing actions of carbide button bits so they are introduced commercially in 1976.

PDC Cutters are made from tungsten carbide substrate and synthetic diamond grit. The diamond and carbide substrate grow together through chemical bonds under high-temperature and high-pressure conditions.

The most important materials of PDC cutters are diamond grit and carbide substrate.

1. Diamond grit

Diamond grit is the key raw material for PDC cutters. In terms of chemicals and properties, manmade diamond is identical to natural diamond. Making diamond grit involves a chemically simple process: ordinary carbon is heated under extremely high pressure and temperature. In practice, however, making a diamond is far from easy.

Diamond grit is less stable at high temperatures than natural diamond, however. Because metallic catalyst trapped in the grit structure has a higher rate of thermal expansion than diamond, differential expansion places diamond-to-diamond bonds under shear and, if loads are high enough, it causes bonds failure. If bonds fail, diamonds are quickly lost, so PDC loses its hardness and sharpness and becomes ineffective. To prevent such failure, PDC cutters must be adequately cooled during drilling.

2. Carbide substrate

Carbide substrate is made of tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide (chemical formula: WC) is a chemical compound containing tungsten and carbon atoms. The most basic form of tungsten carbide is a fine gray powder, but it can be pressed and formed into shapes through pressing and sintering.

Tungsten carbide is used extensively in mining in top hammer rock drill bits, downhole hammers, roller-cutters, longwall plough chisels, longwall shearer picks, raise boring reamers, and tunnel boring machines. 

Zzbetter has strict control for the raw material of diamond grit and carbide substrate. For making the PDC cutter oilfield drilling, we use the imported diamond. We also have to crush and shape it again, making the particle size more uniform. We also need to purify the diamond material. We use the Laser Particle Size Analyzer to analyze the particle size distribution, purity, and size for each batch of diamond powder. We use high-quality virgin powders with suitable grades to produce tungsten carbide substrates.

At Zzbetter, we can offer a wide range of specific cutters. 

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