Does Tungsten Carbide Rust? [Details Answer]

While marketing tungsten carbide, many shop owners will likely tell you that it is indestructible and doesn’t rust. Also, you might have been using a particular tungsten carbide jewelry for many years, and it is not showing any sign of rust. However, does tungsten carbide rust?

No, Tungsten Carbide is a very hard material. It will not rust under normal circumstances and is highly scratch-resistant. As a result, tungsten rings have become a very popular option for couples who want to take their wedding vows wearing wedding bands that are shiny and elegant.

While some do not rust, some undergo corrosion when exposed to intense rust reagents. Nevertheless, you should not get yourself confused. This article will explain everything in detail.

What Type of  Tungsten Carbide Get Rust?

Though there are grades to tungsten carbide, which makes it easier for some to get rust and difficult for others. Highlighted below is a vivid explanation of each grade of tungsten carbide and the conditions that will make it get rusty.

Does Tungsten Carbide Rust

  • Quality tungsten carbide: This type of tungsten carbide is usually a mixed nickel binder, which is used to bind tungsten carbide together. This grade of tungsten carbide will only get rust when it is exposed to a temperature of about 600⁰c.
  • Cheap grade tungsten carbide: This is produced when there is a mixture of cobalt binder with tungsten carbide. The cost of producing this is very cheap, hence, the reason why you see tungsten carbide jewelry whose price will be as low as $50 in the market. This grade of tungsten carbide is susceptible to rust and could change color as soon as you buy it.

If tungsten carbide gets rusted easily, it is possible it is made from the cheap industrial tungsten carbide grade and not the jewelry grade. The difference between the two that determines which one gets rust quicker is the binder. Cobalt binder makes tungsten carbide rust easily while nickel does not.

Conditions That Will Make Tungsten Carbide Rust

Tungsten carbide is known for its high quality and durability, especially the one mixed with nickel binder, which reduces the chance of it getting rust. Also, many merchants do advertise it as indestructible. Nevertheless, irrespective of the grade of the tungsten carbide, it could get rust under some conditions. Here is a list of some of the conditions that will make tungsten carbide rust.

Conditions That Will Make Tungsten Carbide Rust

  • Severe temperature: Though it might seem impossible for the quality jewelry grade tungsten carbide to get rust, it can, however, get rust when exposed to a severe temperature of up to 600⁰c.
  • Quality: Tungsten carbide is produced in two grades and rust happens faster with a particular grade and it does not with another grade. A cobalt binder industrial tungsten carbide will get rusty quicker than a nickel binder.
  • Lack of proper care: Jewelry-grade tungsten carbide can withstand daily showers, chores, and other contacts with water without getting rust but an industrial-grade tungsten carbide cannot go through these rigors without getting rust. Therefore, lack of proper care could make an industrial-grade tungsten carbide get rusty faster.

Preventing Tungsten Carbide against Rust

Tungsten carbide is durable, unique, and would not scratch easily. Though the chance of getting rust is minimal, you still, however, need to protect it against rust. That is why this article is presenting below some of the things you can do to protect tungsten carbide against rust.

Preventing Tungsten Carbide against Rust

  • Buy quality: You don’t need to worry about rust when you buy quality jewelry-grade tungsten carbide. This quality of tungsten carbide is the first thing that will determine how you will preserve it against rust.
  • Know when to remove it: Though you can wear tungsten carbide under different conditions and it will still maintain its quality look. Nevertheless, you should remember that a quality tungsten carbide might get rusty when exposed to severe temperature, therefore, you should know when to remove it. In addition, you are potentially increasing how soon lesser quality tungsten will get when you use it often in water.
  • Do not keep close to rusted items: Rust can easily spread from a particular item to another when they are close together under the same environmental condition. Make sure you keep tungsten carbide properly.
  • Don’t clean cobalt binder tungsten carbide too much: How you care for tungsten carbide potentially determines its lifespan. There is nothing wrong with cleaning tungsten carbide, but you are exposing a cobalt binder tungsten carbide to the risk of getting rust when you clean or wash it often. It doesn’t have what will make it resist rust when it is exposed to oxidation. You should reduce the frequency of cleaning it when you have one. The price you buy might suggest it is made of cobalt binder because it is cheaper.
  • Paint it: You can avoid this by buying a quality tungsten carbide. Nevertheless, if you notice any form of discoloration or rust on your lesser quality tungsten carbide, you can potentially prevent rust by painting it.


A cobalt binder tungsten carbide can also cause skin irritation while a nickel binder does not. Sadly, sellers might not tell you the binder a particular tungsten carbide is made of. If you want a tungsten carbide that would last for many years without getting rust, try everything you could to get a quality one.

Evan Cooper

Evan Cooper

Hi, I’m Evan Cooper, the founder and an editor of this site, Doesitrust. I’m a chemical engineer and working in a rust-eliminating paint manufacturing company. Besides this profession, I’m a researcher and blogger.

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