Tungsten is a gray, lustrous and heavy metal and has the highest melting and boiling points of all metals. The only element in the periodic table with a higher melting point is carbon. Tungsten is the best choice of metal when it comes to heat resistance: its melting point of 3422°C is the highest of all metals. This makes it particularly suitable for applications that involve extreme temperatures.
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Applications of tungsten
- Filaments in lamps
- X-ray tubes
- Electrical contact points
- High-voltage conductors
- Heating elements
- Tool holders
- Grinding wheels and other cutting inserts
Main properties of tungsten
- Extremely high melting point and low vapor pressure
- Very high density (comparable to gold)
- Good corrosion resistance in many acids, lye, and liquid metals
- High heat resistance in vacuum environments
- Very high hardness
What makes tungsten so unique?
Highest melting point of all metals
The extreme heat resistance of tungsten makes this metal so unique. It has the highest melting point all metals at 3422°C, making it particularly suitable for applications that involve extreme temperatures.
Very high shape stability
Tungsten has a low expansion coefficient (4.5), which is much lower than, e.g., lead (29.3). This ensures a very high shape stability, making tungsten practically indestructible. Tungsten is used in oven components that need to withstand prolonged high temperatures.
Ideal for applications in the medical industry
Its high density of 19.25 g/cm3 makes tungsten a widely used metal in the medical industry. The fact that tungsten is a non-toxic metal makes it ideal for applications in hospitals and medical institutions. It doesn’t pose a health risk for patients and it protects them against harmful radioactive radiation.
The first choice for protection against radiation
The high density and strength of tungsten alloys make them the first choice for protection against radiation. The metal has a high potential to absorb the particles and block X-rays and gamma rays. This is one of the reasons why many X-ray tubes and X-ray technologies are based on tungsten alloys. As the metal and its alloys have a much higher density than lead, it is used to protect against radiation from, e.g., collimators and against radioactive radiation. Apart from that, and contrary to lead, tungsten is non-toxic and doesn’t cause irritations to the skin.
ASTM standards of tungsten
- ASTM B760 (tungsten sheet, foil)
- ASTM F288 (tungsten wire for electronic equipment and lamps)
- ASTM F73 (tungsten-rhenium wire for electronic equipment and lamps)
- ASTM E696 (tungsten-rhenium wire for thermal equipment)
- ASTM F269 (normally the standard for tungsten filament)
- ASTM B702 (tungsten-copper)
- ASTM B631 (tungsten-silver for electrical contact points)
- ASTM B777 (tungsten-heavy metal)