The main properties used to characterise the mechanical properties of cemented carbides are hardness, transverse rupture strength and fracture toughness. The graphs above show that hardness increases with decreasing grain size and binder content. However, as hardness increases fracture toughness decreases and vice versa. In truly abrasive applications, hardness is a good measure of wear resistance.
Further important peculiarities of cemented carbides are their high modulus of elasticity (about three times that of steel), their extremely high compressive strength (up to 8,000 MPa) making them ideal tool material for high pressure diamond synthesis, and an excellent thermal conductivity.