There is a lot to know. Cemented carbide refers to a sintered mixture of metalic carbide particles (typically tungsten carbide) in a matrix of another material, often cobalt. Cemented carbides are much more wear resistant than most other cutting materials, although they are also more brittle.
Cemented carbides vary in grade and properties, depending on the side of the carbide particles, the portion of the whole which is made up of the carbide particles, and the metalic allow which surrounds the particles.
Cemented carbides are manufactured by mixing the carbide particles and metalic matrix particles in a ball mill, and compressing the resulting particle to a larger size of the net desired shape. When the material is heated in an oven (sintered) , the matrix softens and wets the carbide particles, forming the composite material. The result is dimensionally smaller. In needed, it is polished and sharpened with appropriately hard tools, such as silicon carbide or diamond.
Carbide tools are used wherever long tool life is required, or very high cutting temperatures. Carbide tools withstand much high cutting temperatures than do high-speed steel tools. Carbide tools do not withstand shock stresses (they are brittle).
Carbide tools are highly available from many sources. If you consult any industrial supply catalogue, you will see the multitude of forms of carbide tooling available. For example, go to "www.mcmaster.com" and search for "carbide".
Of course, there are other applications for carbide other than as cutting tools. Because it is extremely hard, it is uses as a bearing material, as extrusion nozzles, as sand blasting nozzles, for high temperature ball bearings, and many other things.
Because carbide cutting tools withstand higher temperatures, they can operate at higher cutting speeds. This has enabled a relatively new form of machining aluminum, called "high speed machining", in which large billets are aluminum are machined directly to the final shape needed, such as for aircraft parts. High speed machining eliminates casting operations (with the liklihood of defects such as voids and inclusions), as well as making complex assemblies by welding or rivetting smaller components. The result is higher quality with lower tooling cost.
The development of carbide materials has changed the metalworking industry.