What does it take to break a Tungsten Carbide ring?
We’ve just been testing our Tungsten Carbide rings on the concrete outside our office. By “testing”, I mean, we had a whole lot of fun trying to break them with the assistance of concrete, gravity and a hammer. We wanted to answer the question for ourselves, and for our customers -
Can you really not scratch or dent a Tungsten Carbide ring? Will it spontaneously shatter or break if you drop it on a hard surface? What about a hammer? Will it break if we hit it with a hammer?
Before I give you the outcomes of my afternoon in the sunshine outside our office, a few things:
What is Tungsten Carbide? According to Wikipedia:
Tungsten carbide (chemical formula: WC) is an inorganic chemical compound (specifically, a carbide) containing equal parts of tungsten and carbon atoms. In its most basic form, tungsten carbide is a fine gray powder, but it can be pressed and formed into shapes for use in industrial machinery, cutting tools, abrasives, armor-piercing rounds, other tools and instruments, and jewelry.
*Tungsten carbide. (2014, March 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:46, March 20, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tungsten_carbide&oldid=599734938
To make jewellery, the Tungsten Carbide compound is then coloured and/or blended with other metals to finish it. The resultant piece is a handsome brute of ring which is famous for being twice as hard as steel, stronger than titanium and almost impossible to dent or scratch.
Now, with that said it is important to note that Tungsten Carbide is not in fact, indestructible.
A bit of science: Hard substances don’t bend. For example - you cannot bend a diamond. However, you can break a diamond if you hit it with a hammer.
This brings us back to my little experiment. What would it take to scratch, chip or break a Tungsten Carbide ring?
First we just dropped it from waist height. Nothing. Not even a scratch. Then we dropped it another 5 times to make sure.
Then we dropped it another 5 times to make sure.
We dropped the ring repeatedly from waist height, head height and finally from arms length over head. The result was a perfectly intact ring, with no chips, scratches or dents.
We stood on it and kicked it around on the concrete and that ring came back like new.
Then we took the ring upstairs and threw it out of the first floor window. Yep. That did it. The ring didn’t shatter but it does have a crack.
Now for the hammer. I’ll be honest, I handed this over to a colleague who took great delight in whacking another sample ring until eventually it did indeed break in two. The thing to note is that it took some really very heavy blows to do it – heavier than knocking a nail in. I’d like to note that although we didn’t test it, this kind of treatment applied to a gold or silver ring would probably have rendered the ring a flat pile.
So what does this tell us? Well, it is the very attribute that keeps Tungsten Carbide looking new, that also makes it likely to break if you drop it from a height of several meters onto concrete. Or hit it hard with a hammer. It does not however, spontaneously shatter or implode when you drop it under normal every day circumstances.
So in the end, it’s about preference. If you’re looking for a ring that won’t scratch or dent and will continue to look new, then Tungsten Carbide is for you. If you want a ring that won’t break or crack should you feel the urge to throw it out a first floor window onto concrete, or hit it with a hammer, then you’re going to be safest with a more traditional metal.
You can shop our complete range of Tungsten Carbide rings here.