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Zirconium carbide[1]
Zirconium carbide
Other names zirconium(IV) carbide
CAS number 12070-14-3 Yes check.svgY
Molecular formula ZrC
Molar mass 103.235 g/mol
Appearance gray refractory solid
Density 6.73 g/cm3
Melting point


Boiling point


Solubility in water insoluble
Solubility soluble in concentrated HSO4, HF, HNO3
Crystal structure Cubic, cF8
Space group Fm3m, No. 225
Std enthalpy of
−207 kJ/mol (extrapolated to stoichiometric composition)[2]
EU classification not listed
 Yes check.svgY (what is this?)  (verify)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Zirconium carbide (ZrC) is an extremely hard refractory ceramic material,[3] commercially used in tool bits for cutting tools. It is usually processed by sintering. It has the appearance of a gray metallic powder with cubic crystal structure. It is highly corrosion resistant.

Like most carbides of refractory metals, zirconium carbide is sub-stoichiometric, i.e., it contains carbon vacancies. At carbon contents higher than approximately ZrC0.98 the material contains free carbon.[2]

ZrC reacts with water and acids and is pyrophoric.

The mixture of zirconium carbide and tantalum carbide is an important cermet material.

Hafnium-free zirconium carbide and niobium carbide can be used as refractory coatings in nuclear reactors. Zirconium carbide is used extensively as coating of uranium dioxide and thorium dioxide particles of nuclear fuel. The coating is usually deposited by thermal chemical vapor deposition in a fluidized bed reactor.

It is also used as an abrasive, in metal cladding, in cermets, incandescent filaments and cutting tools.


  1. ^ Lide, David R. (1998), Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (87 ed.), Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, pp. 4–96, ISBN 0849305942  
  2. ^ a b Baker, Floyd B.; Storms, Edmund K.; Holley Jr., Charles E. (1969), "Enthalpy of formation of zirconium carbide", J. Chem. Eng. Data 14: 244–246, doi:10.1021/je60041a034  
  3. ^ Measurement and theory of the hardness of transition- metal carbides , especially tantalum carbide. Schwab, G. M.; Krebs, A. Phys.-Chem. Inst., Univ. Muenchen, Munich, Fed. Rep. Ger. Planseeberichte fuer Pulvermetallurgie (1971), 19(2), 91-110


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