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Applications for Tungsten

Applications for Tungsten

Date posted: July 17, 2014 // Tungsten

Tungsten, also known as tungsten carbide, semi-carbide and carbide tungsten, is among one of the most precious and extensively used metals in factories across the globe today. Used in the Second World War for building weapons and armours, it is one of the world’s hardest, wear resistant metals; it has a hardness close to that of diamonds and four times harder than that of titanium.

As it is known to have the highest melting point of all non-alloyed metals and the second highest after carbon, it takes 6 100 degrees of heat to melt. It has a very high density, is an excellent conductor, and is thermally and chemically stable. It offers nothing less than sheer durability and toughness – no other metal can bend or scratch tungsten. Owing to its extensive and wide range of uses, it is regarded as the most valuable and widely used material known to mankind, used for a variety of applications such as the following:

  • Welding – tungsten inert gas welding has been branded as one of the most important joining methods in the processing of high alloy steels and non-ferrous metals, such as copper, titanium, aluminium and nickel, as well as refractory metals, such as niobium and tantalum. 
  • Domestic – as tungsten has the highest melting point and is able to retain its strength in high temperatures, it is a metal that is highly popular for domestic use.  It is used to make filaments for incandescent light bulbs, fluorescent light bulbs, television tubes, X-ray tubes, electron tubes, electric lamps and vacuum tube filaments. It is also used in the manufacturing processes of darts, fishing lures and various musical instrument strings. 
  • Electrode Discharge Machining – due to its high resistance to thermal shock and endurance to rapid high temperatures, Tungsten has found a wide range of usages as electrodes for electrode discharge machining – a manufacturing process whereby a desired shape is obtained using electrical discharges. Additionally, it has also found its way into certain technologies such as touchscreen technology, found in tablets and smart phones. 
  • Jewellery – because of its quality structure, cost and density, tungsten has become a reasonable alternative to platinum and gold, and is being used to make wedding bands in the form of tungsten rings. Unlike gold and platinum, tungsten is highly scratch resistant and will not need polishing, making it extremely well-liked in a brushed mirror finish, close to the dark hue grey/black colour of hematite. Additionally, unlike gold and platinum, it does not carry too much cobalt, making it hypoallergenic for the skin. 
  • Heavy Duty Machinery and Military Applications – because tungsten does not wear down easily and is able to retain its strength, it is used widely for high-quantity production runs for cutting through carbon steel or stainless steel materials. It can also be found in engine nozzles, power saw blades, drill bits for oil and gas exploration, turbine, blades and wear-resistant parts and coatings. Other applications that require its sheer durability and toughness include heat sinks, weights, counterweights, ballast keels for yachts, and tail ballast for commercial aircrafts. Used widely in armour, it can also be found in cannon shells, kinetic energy penetrators and grenades, as well as for shrapnel in missiles. 

We at Labotec Industrial Technologies (LIT) are the experts for components manufactured from tungsten, tantalum, niobium, chromium and molybdenum. Contact us today or browse our website to view our products and awards.

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