Complete Profile of Tungsten Metal
Tungsten is an extremely hard metal, used in the high speed cutting tools and in mining machinery. When alloyed with steel, it forms tough metals with stable at high temperatures.
Tungsten, commonly known as wolfram, has symbol, W. It is a dull silver colored metal, having a very high melting point. It belongs to the category of refractory metal with unique properties to withstand high temperature. Tungsten is resistant to fracturing more than diamond and is much harder than steel. Therefore, it is an ideal material for any commercial and industrial applications.
Typical Properties of Tungsten Metal:
Production Process of Tungsten:
Currently china is the world's largest producer of the tungsten metal. China alone provides over 80% of the world supply. This metal is extracted from two mineral ores, Scheelite and Wolframite. First step is the separation of tungsten from its ore for processing. It is a lengthy and difficult process that requires a lot of advanced tool and technology. Then it has to be processed and separated in the chemical form called APT, Ammonium Paratungstate. Once APT is achieved, it is heated with hydrogen to form tungsten oxide, which is the primary material for Machining Tungsten products. Alternatively, it can be reacted with carbon at temperature above 1050°C to produce tungsten metal directly.
Alloys of the Tungsten Metal:
Tungsten metal when combined with other metals in alloy form shows the properties of increased strength and wear resistance. There are many steel alloys that contain tungsten for enhanced application and properties. For Instance, cutting tools used in high speed cutters contain around 18 % tungsten. Saw blades are another excellent example of a Machining Tungsten alloy.
Tungsten-steel alloys due to its high heat resistant properties are used in the production of rocket engine nozzles. Stellite is another tungsten alloys which include cobalt, chromium and tungsten. It is also used in bearing and pistons due to its durability and wear resistance. Many Super-alloys are made of tungsten along with cobalt, iron or nickel, and are used to produce turbine blades for aircrafts.
Applications of Tungsten Metal:
The most well known and primary application of tungsten is as filament in incandescent light bulbs. It is used to produce wire filament in the center of light bulbs. This application of tungsten is achieved by doping it with small amounts of potassium-aluminum silicate, sintered at high temperature. It is ideal for thermocouples in electric arc furnaces and welding equipment due to its tolerance to intense heat. Applications that require a concentrated mass, or weight, such as counterweights, fishing sinkers and darts often use tungsten because of its density.
Tungsten has the ability to maintain its shape at high temperatures, therefore, it is used in a variety of commercial applications, including lamps, floodlights, electrical furnaces, x-ray tubes, CRTs in computer monitors and television sets.
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I have explained the tungsten metal, its properties, alloys and application procedure. Machining Tungsten requires high expertise and advanced knowledge in this field.