Pilot tests of the next generation superhard alloy were completed at the Polysaevskaya underground mine (Kemerovo region) in late November 2019.
NITU MISiS and partners developed the next generation superhard alloys for mining equipment. The tools and machines made from them will be used for mining in extreme conditions of the Arctic, as project manager, university professor Yevgeny Levashov told to RIA Novosti.
As part of the state programme for the development of the Arctic, scientists developed fundamentally new coarse-grained hard alloys that double the strength and wear resistance of mining equipment. These materials have a specific structure with several hierarchy levels. This means that the materials contain structural components with very different grain sizes, from 6-8 micrometres to 10 nanometres.
’We developed a technology for the production of the next generation coarse-grained hard alloys with a particularly homogeneous structure, round tungsten carbide grains and a nanomodified cobalt bound. Due to the introduction of functional alloying additives into the alloy and optimised manufacturing conditions, in the plastic cobalt bound, there are strengthening plate-shaped nanoparticles with characteristic dimensions of 4-5 nanometres. This ensures a simultaneous increase in crack resistance, strength and wear resistance,’ Levashov said.
Pilot tests of the new alloy were carried out at SUEK's Polysaevskaya mine (Kemerovo region) in late November 2019. During testing, a heading machine extracted more than 700 cubic metres of rock at a depth of 250 metres. Cutters made of the new hard alloys showed a complete absence of chips, while their productivity was 80-100% higher compared to the best domestic and foreign counterparts.
Mining tools made of these alloys will be demanded by companies specialising in underground or open-pit mining of rocks with various strength levels. These companies are, in particular, SUEK, Mechel, Alrosa, Apatit and others. After introduction, this development is expected to greatly increase the efficiency of mining in the Arctic region of the Russian Federation.