High-temperature carbides are produced in the United States for a large variety of uses. For example, tungsten carbide (wc) products are the major constituents for cutting and wear-resistant materials, several thousand tons of which are produced yearly in the United States. Silicon carbide (SiC) is the most widely used nonoxide ceramic material. It is used as an abrasive, as a raw material for making refractories, and as reinforcements in many advanced composite materials. Sic is used because of its reasonably high hardness and heat and oxidation resistance properties. Approximately 700,000 tons of sic are produced annually worldwide. Tantalum carbide (tac) and titanium carbide (tic) are used with wc in the tool steel industry and with other carbides in the cemented carbide cutting industry. Tac and tic exhibit high melting temperatures, high strength at elevated temperatures, and good corrosion resistance properties. Approximately 25 pct of the tantalum processed today is used in cemented carbides. There are a variety of ways to produce high-temperature carbides, but all require significant amounts of energy for extensive periods of time. The U.S. Bureau of Mines has examined the use of a microwave- induced thermal plasma in a microwave field, which led to the basic technology for an accelerated process to produce high-temperature carbides.