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Tungsten Material and applications

Tungsten is one of the toughest elements found in nature. It is super dense and almost impossible to melt. Pure tungsten is a silver-white metal and when made into a fine powder is highly combustible. Natural tungsten contains five stable isotopes and 21 other unstable isotopes.

Tungsten is used in several unique ways because it is very strong and durable. It is also very resistant to corrosion and has the highest melting point and highest tensile strength of any element. However, tungsten’s strength is created when it is made into compounds. Pure tungsten is very soft.

Tungsten Properties

Tungsten EDM is a dull silver-colored metal with the highest melting point of any pure metal. It is also commonly referred to as Wolfram, from which the element takes its symbol. Tungsten’s unique properties make it more resistant to fracturing than diamond, and harder than steel. Custom tungsten parts contain unique properties that make it ideal for many commercial and industrial applications.

Tungsten has the highest melting point and lowest vapor pressure of all metals, and at temperatures over 3000°C has the highest tensile strength. It has excellent corrosion resistance and can only be slightly attacked by most mineral acids. Tungsten’s properties also allow it to have a density comparable to gold and uranium and almost twice that of lead.

Tungsten EDM Capabilities

Tungsten is generally considered to have machinability like gray cast iron because it produces short chips and is abrasive. However, high precision tungsten parts with lower percentages of tungsten are more ductile than high-percentage compositions. Custom tungsten parts tend to share the machining characteristics of stainless steels of comparable hardness. Due to its high elastic stiffness, tungsten alloys require greater cutting forces than most metals.

Tungsten EDM Advantages

Custom tungsten parts contain numerous beneficial qualities compared to other types of metal. Tungsten EDM contains the following advantages.

High Temperature Resistance

Of all metals in their purest form, tungsten has the highest melting point (3422°C), offering a substantial advantage in certain situations to more common metals like copper, zinc or aluminum. Tungsten’s extraordinarily high melting point makes it an excellent material for high temperature environments. Common high temperature industries for tungsten machining, include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Construction

Extreme Density

Tungsten also benefits from a higher density than that of other metals. Its density is 19.3 times that of water and almost double that of lead, making its weight comparable to that of uranium and gold. High density applications, include:

  • Aircrafts
  • Professional race cars
  • Yacht ballasts
  • Jewelry 

Low Thermal Expansion

High precision tungsten parts have the lowest coefficient of thermal expansion of all pure metals. This gives it the benefit of added stability under extreme heat, compared to common building materials such as steel. Tungsten has a structural solidity unmatched by other metals. Low thermal expansion applications, include:

  • Applications that require rigidity
  • Tungsten carbide cutting tools

Electronic Structure

Due to its conductive properties and relative inertness as a metal, tungsten is widely used within the electronics industry, and environments involving high levels of radiation. Applications that require electronic structure, include:

  • X-ray targets
  • High-energy radiation shielding equipment
  • Electrodes
  • Metallic film

Corrosion Resistant

Tungsten is highly resistant to corrosive environments. This quality is especially important in situations where a material will be exposed to water for a prolonged period, such as in outdoors and marine environments. Tungsten’s unique resistance to corrosion makes it extremely beneficial as a component when alloyed with other metals. Corrosion resistant applications, include:

  • Fishing lures
  • Jewelry

Fabrication Strength

The tungsten EDM process produces is an extremely robust metal with the highest tensile strength of all pure metals. While this can make it brittle under certain circumstances of metal fabrication, tungsten’s rigidity means that it can be drawn into very thin wires without fracturing, applications regarding this advantage, include:

  • Light bulb filaments