A coating solution including a polymer and a metal selected from scandium, yttrium, titanium, zirconium, hafnium, vanadium, niobium, tantalum, chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, boron, aluminum and silicon can be deposited on a substrate and then exposed at elevated temperature to a reducing atmosphere including a gaseous carbon source. Solvent evaporates and the polymer decomposes and a metal carbide film forms on the substrate. Metal carbide films of titanium carbide, vanadium carbide, niobium carbide, tantalum carbide, tungsten carbide, silicon carbide, and several mixed carbides were prepared. X-Ray diffraction patterns of metal carbide films provide evidence of a highly ordered structure and excellent alignment with the substrate. A composite film of niobium carbide and carbon nanotubes was also prepared.
 STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.