Matrix Body PDC Bits vs. Steel Body PDC Bits

If you have worked in drilling for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard about PDC bits. PDC stands for “polycrystalline diamond compact,” which describes the material compound that makes up these bits’ cutting surface. Both Matrix Body PDC and Steel Body PDC are made with this compound. 

These bits go by many names. They are commonly called: 

  • PDC Bits 
  • Polycrystalline diamond compact bits 
  • Composite chip tooth bits 
  • Polycrystalline diamond cutting block bits 

PDC bits are often used for oil drilling – but are popular in other industries as well. They were created in 1976 and are just as popular now as roller-cone bits (the kind of bit that has rotating parts). While PDC bits have a long history of success, they continue to evolve and constantly improve through new and innovative cutting angles, arrangements, and materials. These bits are very efficient as they work to shear away rock formations rather than crushing them. Each year, new advances in technology improve the efficacy of PDC bits and improve drilling speed. 

These bits are known as the “nose-to-the-grindstone” bits of the drilling industry – they get the job done and can be highly effective for a wide range of services and formation types—no moving parts to get jammed up, no fuss, just effective drilling for all your needs. 

You’ve come to the right place if you need new or rerun, refurbished PDC bits. O-K bit is the world’s largest supplier of rerun bits. We’d love to equip you with the PDC bits you need. 

If you want to learn more about Matrix Body PDC Bits and Steel Body, keep reading! 

What Are PDC Bits? 

There are two primary styles of PDC drill bits – matrix body PDC bits and steel body PDC bits. Both are similarly shaped round bits with four to eight cutting structures, or blades, that fan out from the middle. Each blade is then topped with between ten and thirty cutters. The bits have water channels dispersed for cooling, and there is a nozzle at the apex of the bit. If you’re trying to imagine this bit, it looks a bit like the crown a king might wear. 


PDC bits are used for oil and gas drilling, geothermal drilling, water well drilling, construction drilling, mining and horizontal directional drilling. O-K Bit can supply the PDC bits for your drilling projects; please contact us to place an order

The Science Behind PDC Bits 

You may have learned in school that diamond is the hardest material known to man. It is! And it is perfect for cutting through other materials like rock formations for drilling. 

PDC bits utilize tiny, inexpensive, man-made diamonds in their cutting structures. The process of creating the diamonds on these bits is complicated. Simplified, here is the process for creating diamond drill bits: 

  • The tiny synthetic diamonds are made 
  • The diamonds are then aggregated into large masses of crystals 
  • The crystals are then shaped into diamond tables 
  • Diamond tables are then bonded to metal, typically tungsten carbide, and a metallic binder 
  • This becomes the cutter part of the bit – there are many cutters on each blade of the bit
  • The cutters are then attached to the blades, which are attached to the body of the bit  

Together, the cutters and blades on the tip of the PDC bit are used to cut through rock formations of all kinds. 

Synthetic Diamonds in Drill Bits 

As you can see, synthetic diamonds are the key material for PDC bits. In manufacturing these bits, ultra-small grains of diamond (also called diamond grit) are created. This grit is very durable but becomes less stable at a molecular level when it heats up. So, your PDC bit is more likely to fail if not adequately cooled when in use. 

Regardless, synthetic diamonds are incredibly wear-resistant; they are the ideal material for longevity and durability. The metal type changes if you choose a matrix or steel body bit – but the diamond is critical.  PDC bits can have a long lifespan as long as they are adequately cooled. 

Matrix Body PDC Bits 

Matrix body bits are one of the most popular PDC bit types. They are made of a composite material that is both hard and brittle. The material is made of tungsten carbide grains metallically bonded with a softer, tougher metallic binder. While Matrix body bits are not as strong against impacts, they have much better abrasion resistance than steel body PDC bits.

Matrix body bits are created by using a mold heated in a furnace. The mold is filled with the metal composite in a solid form, heated to melt, cooled, and then assembled with the cutters. 

Uses of Matrix Body PDC Bits

Matrix body PDC bits are primarily used for these applications: 

  • Soft to medium-hard formations 
  • High volume 
  • High sand 
  • Applications where the same bit will need to be used for several bit runs 

Steel Body PDC Bits 

Steel body PDC bits are another of the most common PDC bit types. These bits are the opposite of a matrix bit in composition. They are made from steel instead of the metal composite used for matrix body PDC bits. They are excellent at impact resistance but are more likely to be compromised by erosion. 

Steel PDC bits use the cutting action of the bit to break up the rock it is drilling into. They are typically very stable and can drill at high speeds. 

These bits are made from steel bars. The bars are machined with metallic mills and lathes to make the bit body, and then the cutting teeth and post are welded to it. Steel PDC bits are more easily formed into complex shapes and designs. Creating intricate designs allows for a greater variety of cutting faces and features. Variations in cutting features can be helpful when drilling in unique rock formations. 

Uses of Steel Body PDC Bits 

Steel body PDC bits are useful in applications that include: 

  • Drilling in shale formations 
  • Soft limestone sites 
  • Fast drilling in the stratum 
  • Natural gas drilling 
  • Deep wells 
  • Abrasive formations 

Buy PDC Bits Online 

Choosing a supplier for PDC bits can be an overwhelming task. Although there are many excellent options to choose from, O-K Bit is an experienced supplier with the largest inventory in the USA of new and rerun bits. O-K Bit has a large selection of PDC bits available for various drilling operations. Contact the O-K Bit team to find the new or rerun bits for your drilling projects.