Tungsten Properties and Where They Are Needed

IRVINE, Calif. -- Tungsten metal is popular because of its resistance to strong acids and its tensile strength. It also resists corrosion just like titanium. Tungsten, also called wolfram (W), is mined from an ore (wolframite). It was discovered in 1783 in Spain by two brothers: Juan Jose De Elhuyar and Fausto. With charcoal, they effectively reduced wolframite mineral to a rudimentary metal and in the process found an acid in it. In Swedish language, the words tungsten means heavy stone.

1. Properties of tungsten

Just like titanium, wolfram is a member of the Periodic table denoted by letter W. It is a group 6 element but lacks a group name. It is classified as metallic. It has a melting point of 3,422°Cand a boiling point of 5,700°C. Raw tungsten is known to be lustrous and tin-white when completely pure. It is also described as a steel-gray metal. When heated beyond 1,650°C, wolfram will display very high tensile strength. Of all existing metals, tungsten material is known to have the lowest vapor pressure and highest melting point. It will oxidize easily in air and that is why it is often shielded when temperatures are too high. Besides resisting mineral acids, wolfram will also resist alkalis.

2. Where tungsten properties are needed

An alloying agent - Because of its tensile strength and corrosion resistance, Tungsten is an alloying agent. It is combined with other metals to form a stronger alloy that is resistant to wear and tear and corrosion. High speed steels that are used to make tools for machining other metals are made of an alloy of steel and eighteen percent tungsten. Steel and tungsten alloys are used in the manufacture of rocket engine nozzles.

These nozzles must resist high heat. Tungsten metals can also be combined with chromium and cobalt to come up with a metal that can used to make machine parts such as pistons and bearings. Hevimet is a special substance used in military hardware. It is made by sintered tungsten powder. Hevimet is also used to make dart barrels. Tungsten, iron, cobalt and nickel result to a super-alloy that has uses in manufacture of airplane parts.

Lighting fixtures - For a long time tungsten materials have been used to make incandescent light bulbs’ filament. Along with potassium aluminum silicate, tungsten powder is heated in a hot vacuumed furnace to result to the wire filament seen in the middle of light bulbs. The same wire filaments are added to electric contacts. Also they are contained in the arc-welding electrodes, floodlights, microwaves, CRTs for computer and TV monitors and so on.

Cement carbide - This is the commonest use for wolfram. It contains tungsten carbide or WC. This item is used in making machining tools that could cut a tough metal like steel.

Medical - Tungsten is certainly used in the manufacture of X-ray tubes’ screen and emitter coils. It is as well a major component of liquid crystals displays and microchip.

Others tungsten products include fishing sinkers, counterweights and other items that depend on the heavy weight/density of tungsten.

By Stanford Advanced Materials http://www.samaterials.com/

Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) Corporation is a global supplier of a series of pure metals, alloys, ceramics and minerals such as oxides, chlorides, sulfides, oxysalts, etc. Our headquarter, located in Irvine, California, USA, was first established in 1994, starting to provide high-quality rare-earth products for research and development (R&D).

Stanford Advanced Materials

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