Tungsten is a very specific metal that has become indispensable in the industry. It has unique properties which make it very demanding. The best features of tungsten are the highest melting temperature of all metals and the highest tensile strength. Some experts say that this metal has the similar hardness to diamond. One of the primary uses of tungsten is in electronics and specialist steels, super alloys. The major supplier of this metal is China, containing 80% of tungsten, while a western market is limited. The application of this metal is in industry, military, and aerospace. Having in mind the high demand of this metal, experts estimate its growth similar to Global GDP.
When combined with other materials, tungsten has a higher strength and resistance to corrosion and wear. In steel alloys, you can usually find tungsten because of these properties. Tungsten – steel alloys are used for manufacturing of engine nozzles because they have a heat resistance.
On the other hand, tungsten alloys may also include stellite, cobalt, and chromium. They are used in bearing and pistons because of durability and resistance. You cannot wear it that quickly.
The use of tungsten alloys
Tungsten nickel-iron alloys are usually used in heavy metal industry. Many factories demand them because of maximum density and strength which is required for the application.
Tungsten nickel-copper alloys have become very useful when magnetic permeability represents an issue. The lack of magnetic features makes these alloys perfect for oncology systems and when shielding electrical sensors. There are also many more applications of tungsten alloys, such as boring bars and grinding quills, crankshafts, balancing, rotating inertia members and so on.
Tungsten heavy alloys are used radiation shielding as well. By having a high density, it becomes difficult for radiation to penetrate. This is one of the reasons why many nuclear power plants use this metal.
In the recent decade, many experts have talked about lead exposure and risk which have been associated with this metal. Tungsten alloys are a much more reliable option, and its density provides them to hold the shape much better under extreme pressure. This metal has also shown great results when exposed to radiation, and it doesn’t have side effects like lead.
The brief history of tungsten
Tungsten was discovered in 1779 by Irish chemist Peter Woulfe. It was originally named as Wolfram, and some countries still kept this name. In 1781 as Swedish scientist Karl Wilhelm Scheele isolated tungsten as an element and named it like this. The Swedish name represents a metal which is thick and robust like a stone. This metal was first used in the manufacturing of light bulbs because of high resistance to heat.