Environmental and resource aspects of substituting cemented carbide with polycrystalline diamond: The case of machining tools
Journal article, 2020

Synthetic diamond competes with the conventional cemented carbide (WC-Co) tool material in some applications due to its extreme hardness. However, so far, these materials have not been compared from a life cycle perspective regarding their environmental and resource impacts. The aims of this study are i) to provide detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) results for industrial polycrystalline diamond (PCD) production from diamond grit produced via high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) synthesis and ii) to conduct the first comparative LCA of PCD and WC-Co tools for the cases of wood working and titanium alloys machining. The results show that the main hotspot in HPHT synthesis of diamond grit, which is the main precursor to PCD, is the use of WC-Co in the high-pressure apparatus. In PCD tool production, the electricity input and the use of tungsten and molybdenum contribute the most to environmental and resource impacts. The environmental and resource impacts of the PCD tool production can be reduced with 53-83% if solar electricity and full WC-Co recycling is applied. The comparison shows high environmental and resource improvements when substituting WC-Co tools with PCD tools in wood working, but not in titanium alloys machining.

Life cycle inventory (LCI)

Life cycle assessment (LCA)

Diamond grit

High-pressure high-temperature (HPHT)

Wood working

Titanium alloys machining

Author

Anna Furberg

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Kristin Fransson

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Mats Zackrisson

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Mikael Larsson

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Rickard Arvidsson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Journal of Cleaner Production

0959-6526 (ISSN)

Vol. 277

Mistra Environmental Nanosafety Phase II

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra), 2019-04-01 -- 2023-03-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Environmental Sciences

DOI

10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.123577

More information

Latest update

1/14/2021