Tungsten is refractory heavy metals considered to be rare metal, but in fact found commonly in pretty much any country. It was introduced into the industry of steel production three centuries ago, and it has been thoroughly studied and alloyed with other metals ever since. Tungsten possesses some incredible characteristics highly applicable in various industries, and it has the potential of improving characteristics of many other metals.
Tungsten and its alloys are widely used nowadays both in specific industry fields, as well as for manufacturing elements and products used in everyday life.
When analyzed in pure form, tungsten has the highest melting temperature of all metals, extreme tensile strength, and the lowest thermal expansion level. Its potential to increase strength, durability, hardness, corrosion and thermal resistance makes tungsten a great metal for alloying with other metals. Commonly, there are three main alloys, as well as pseudo-alloys with heavy metals and copper alloys.
Common tungsten-based alloys
Tungsten nickel iron, tungsten nickel-copper, and tungsten carbide are three most common tungsten alloys used in modern heavy metal industry. Alloys made with nickel exhibit significant density, flexibility, strength, and duration and are used wherever these properties are required in the resulting product. Adding copper to the alloy decreases these properties slightly, but copes with magnetic permeability which is often used in the production of various medical equipment, electrical sensors, optical systems and other fields. In the industry of wear-resistant systems, the commonly used alloy is tungsten carbide, as the main ingredient of cemented carbide.
Most cutting tools and abrasive tools are based on this alloy. When choosing the right tungsten alloy, many aspects are considered. It refers to required product shape and dimensions, required melting point, temperature resistance, resistance to corrosion and friction, optimal flexibility, conductivity, tensile strength and other properties.
Tungsten alloys with heavy metals
Often called pseudo – alloys, these mixtures include tungsten basis with nickel – iron or nickel – copper added into it. Primary property these alloys provide is extremely high density, seen in uranium or gold, but compared to these materials, tungsten pseudo – alloys are cheaper, more available and easier to process. Also, these alloys exhibit high elasticity, significant capacity for absorption of ionizing radiation and machinability.
These materials are perfect for the production of radiation shields or any other process requiring high-density application. Tungsten is presented by 90 to 95% in these alloys. These properties are used to manufacture radiation shields, boring bars, counterbalances and various tools designed to stand high temperature and friction.
Tungsten and copper alloyed
The industry of electrode materials and other electrical elements uses modern technology to alloy tungsten and copper and provide resistance to consumption with electric conductivity at the same time.
These materials are easy to process regardless of high strength and provide low alloying tendency between electrode and workpiece. The copper provides electrical conductivity, and the tungsten provides all the other quality properties of these products. These products are commonly used in everyday life and present in domestic appliances. TIG rod is by far when it comes to welding.