Composite superhard materials refer to polycrystalline composites which uses the diamond and cubic boron nitride (CBN) single crystal superhard materials as the raw material and add metal or non-metallic binders and sinter under ultra-high pressure and high temperature, which are new composites necessary for industrial production and processing.
They are widely used in traditional fields, such as machinery, metallurgy, geology, petroleum, coal, wood, construction, automobiles, households. They are also used in the high-tech industries such as electronic information, aerospace, national defense and military industries. The main products of composite superhard materials include：diamond sinter (PCD) composite sheets for oil/natural gas drill bits, PCD composite sheets for coalfield/mining tools, PCD wire drawing die blanks
and PCD / polycrystalline cubic boron nitride
(PCBN) composite sheets for cutting tools.
At that stage, the development of China's composite superhard materials industry has two significant advantages. Firstly, the industrial chain of China's composite superhard materials industry has formed a certain scale, and has local advantages in raw material procurement. The production of China's diamond has entered a period of rapid growth since the 1990s. In 2009, it reached 5.4 billion carats, and in 2011, it reached 11 billion carats. The total production of synthetic diamond accounts for more than 90% of the world's total. Secondly, China has relatively low production and manufacturing costs, having the low-cost advantages in the international market. With the continuous improvement of technology development and production process, the cost perfomance ratio of composite superhard materials is gradually reflected, so the cemented carbide and high-speed steel are gradually replaced by diamond, and the time for the industrialization and large-scale development of diamond composite sheets in China is ripe.
At present, the downstream demand of composite superhard materials shows a rapid growth trend. Among them, the market demand of high-grade diamond accounts for about 60%-70% of the whole market. First of all, China's natural gas production has been showing a high-speed growth trend. In 2011, China's natural gas production reached 102.5 billion cubic meters. With the continuous growth of oil and gas production in China, the demand for PCD composite sheets for oil and gas also shows a strong demand.
At present, the global market of PCD composite for oil and gas is about 11 billion yuan, and the market space of China is about 1.4 billion yuan, which has great potential for development. China has the largest shale gas reserves in the world, with recoverable reserves of about 36.1 trillion cubic meters. China regards shale gas exploration and development as one of the important areas of national energy strategy, and its output will reach 60-100 billion cubic meters by 2020. With the further development and utilization of shale gas, PCD composite sheets for oil and gas will surely usher in new development opportunities. Secondly, the market scale of mine PCD composite is also expanding driven by the continuous output of coal.
The global market of PCD composite for mining is nearly 20 billion yuan, and the scale of the Chinese market is about 2 billion yuan. In short, the global economic recovery and the sustained and rapid development of domestic macro-economy will bring greater development opportunities and market space for the further development of composite superhard materials industry.