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Production And Utilization Of Tungsten And Tungsten Alloys

Tungsten, commonly known as Wolfram, is refractory metal with some unique features and properties that make it an excellent material for various industrial utilization. With the highest melting point and outstanding capability to stand extreme temperatures, tungsten is the primary choice material for all tools and systems that produce heat when functioning.

Also, tungsten is highly resistant to the acids and bases and their corrosive effect, it exhibits extreme tensile coefficient that makes its hardness equal to diamond’s and significantly higher than steel. However, tungsten possesses excellent flexibility and machinability at the same time with extreme hardness, and all of this makes it perfect for different commercial and industrial applications, as well as for alloying with other metals to improve their qualities.

Tungsten production and processing

Although tungsten is considered to be rare metal, it can be found in pretty much any country, and it’s easy for processing more or less. Tungsten is usually extracted from wolframite or scheelite and purified, modified or combined with other metals in the next phases of the process. Currently, China is the world’s biggest tungsten supplier.

But other industrially developed countries provide significant amounts as well. Modern technology enables tungsten recycling too, the procedure that accounts for the significant percentage of the total amount of tungsten used in modern industry. In the first phase of processing, tungsten extracted from wolframite or scheelite is turned into ammonium paratungstate which is further processed into tungsten oxide or tungsten metal.

Alloying Tungsten with other metals

Tungsten is excellent material for the alloying die to its unique properties that improve qualities of other metals significantly. Roughly divided, modern industry uses various tungsten alloys with other metals (tungsten steel is the most frequent), pseudo-alloys and superalloys. Tungsten carbide, produced by mixing tungsten with carbon has hardness close to diamond’s and thus is used widely for production of various tools and systems that require withstanding high pressures, temperatures or for powerful cutting and drilling equipment. Cemented carbide is produced by adding cobalt powder, and this material is essential for the production of various tools designed exhibit high wear – resistance.

High – speed steel is produced worldwide and used in a myriad of industrial and commercial products. It’s hardness, machining properties, temperature and pressure resistance are impressive. When mixed with cobalt or chromium, tungsten composes Stellites and hevimet used for ammunition, airplanes, rocket engines, construction industry and much more. Special industry fields use superalloys produced by combining tungsten with cobalt, iron or nickel.

Utilization of tungsten alloys

Tungsten and its alloys are commonly used in everyday domestic products, as well as in various specific industries. The best-known application of tungsten is in the form of light bulb filaments used in domestic bulbs, floodlights, vehicle lights or even airplane lights. The extreme hardness of tungsten makes it perfect for the production of various cutting tools, drills, blades, saws, medical equipment or elements for the construction industry.

Temperature resistance makes tungsten alloys applicable in different electrical compounds, microwave ovens, television or computer sets, engines or X-ray tubes. Aerospace industry uses tungsten steel widely and modern medicine, especially radiology, relies on tungsten properties exhibited in various modern medical equipment. With this in mind, TIG welding rod is simply the best for such activities as welding.

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Rodney Williams

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