25 Tungsten Uses : Facts You Should Know!

Tungsten (W) is a rare grayish-white lustrous chemical element with the atomic number 72 that belongs to group 6 of the periodic table. Let us look at the various uses of tungsten.

The following are some of the applications of tungsten in various fields:

  • Alloys industry
  • Magnetic industries
  • Chemical Industries
  • Electronics Industry
  • Laboratories

Tungsten is considered as one of the five important refractory metals. This article will go into detail about the various industrial applications of tungsten and its related compounds.

Alloy industries

  • Tungsten’s heat resistance and hardness can help to create useful alloys. High-speed steel, for example, contains up to 18% tungsten.
  • Tungsten alloys are used in industries such as aerospace and automotive, as well as in radiation shielding.
  • Tungsten-containing superalloys, such as Stellite and Hastelloy, are used in turbine blades.
  • Tungsten superalloys are used in coatings and wear-resistant parts.
  • When coupled with another highly-conductive metal like silver or copper, tungsten’s heat endurance makes it helpful in arc welding applications.

Magnetic industries

Hard permanent magnets are made from quenched tungsten steel because of their high coercivity and remanence.

Chemical Industries

  • Tungsten(IV) sulfide is a high-temperature lubricant as well as acts as a constituent of catalysts for hydrodesulfurization.
  • Catalysts containing tungsten are favorable for hydrogenolysis, epoxidation, and oxidation processes.
  •  Tungsten sulfide can be employed as an electrocatalyst, whereas tungstates can be utilized as photocatalysts.
  • Ceramic glazes contain tungsten oxides, and magnesium/calcium tungstates are extensively used in fluorescent lamps and lighting.
  • Scintillation detectors in nuclear physics are made of crystal tungstates.
  • Tungsten oxide is used in coal-fired power plants as a catalyst in selective catalytic reduction.

Electronics Industry

  • Due to its high melting point, tungsten is well suited for welding, electrical, heating, and other high-temperature applications. It is mostly used in the tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding process.
  • Due to tungsten’s conductive qualities and relative chemical inertness, it is frequently employed in electron-beam devices like electron microscopes as emitter tips and in electrodes.
  • Tungsten acts as a linking material in integrated circuits, connecting the transistors and the silicon dioxide dielectric material.
  • Tungsten is utilized in metallic films, which use tungsten coating to replace the wiring found in conventional electronics.
  • Tungsten’s electronic structure makes it a primary source for X-ray targets as well as a shielding material against high-energy radiations.
  • Tungsten nanowires have the potential to be used in nanoelectronics, particularly as gas sensors and pH probes.


  • High-purity tungsten granules are utilized to accelerate the process of determining sulfur and carbon in metals.
  • Tungsten is used as a reagent in biochemical analysis in the form of high-purity sodium tungstate.
  • Tungsten is used in mineralogy as sodium metatungstate to prepare heavy liquids for separating minerals based on density.

Tungsten Oil Uses

Tungsten oil or tung oil (or China wood oil) is a plant-based pale yellow, pungent drying oil that is composed of conjugated triene acid, α-eleostearic acid, and fatty acid.

Tung oil is extracted from the seed of the tung tree. The uses of tung oil in different fields are mentioned below:

  • Coating industry
  • Wood finishing

Coating Industry

  • Tung oil is used as a weatherproof agent in quick-drying paints and varnishes.
  • Tung oil being resistant to alcohol and acids is used as an environmentally-friendly coating for kitchen applications such as cutting boards, desk countertops, baskets, bowls, etc.

Wood Finishing

  • Tung oil is the most effective natural finishing oil. It is applied to wooden furniture, boat decks, and floors.
  • When applied to a wooden surface, it produces a deep golden tint with a satin matte look, enhancing the appearance of the furniture.
  • Tung oil acts as a grain filler, preventing water from entering the wood and inhibiting the growth of fungi and bacteria.  

Tungsten Powder Uses

Tungsten powder is tungsten metal in powdered form and is gray-white in color. The hydrogen reduction of highly pure tungsten oxides is the major method to produce tungsten powder.

Tungsten powder is immiscible in water and slightly miscible in acids. The usage of tungsten powder in various industries is as follows:

  • Processing industry
  • Chemical industry
  • Alloys
  • Welding industry

Processing industry

Tungsten powder in its pure form can be shaped into processing materials such as rods, wires, plates, and tubes.  

Chemical Industry

It is majorly used as a raw material in the production of tungsten carbide and ferro tungsten, which has a wide range of applications.


  • Tungsten powder is combined with other metal powders and formed into a variety of tungsten alloys, which include tungsten rhenium alloy, tungsten copper alloy, tungsten molybdenum alloy, etc.
  • High-density tungsten alloy is employed as a radiation shield.
  • Heat-resistant tungsten alloys are utilized to make tools, surface hardening materials for metals, combustion tubes, and gas turbine blades.

Welding Industry

In the thermal spray welding process, tungsten powder can be used as a thermal spray powder.

Tungsten Steel Uses

Tungsten steel is a tungsten alloy composed of tungsten carbide and cobalt which account for 99% of all components and 1% are other metals.

Tungsten steel is corrosion and heat-resistant, has high hardness, and is stable at high temperatures. These features make it useful in modern industries that are listed as follows:

  • Industrial tools
  • Industrial Cutting equipment

Industrial tools

  • Tungsten steel is used as tool steel in machinery, woodworking, and metalworking-related products such as dies and in manufacturing industries.
  • Tungsten steel is utilized in the nozzles of rocket engines.

Industrial Cutting equipment

Tungsten steel is used in manufacturing high-durability and high-speed cutting tools such as micro-drill bits, turning tools, self-sharpening rotary cutting blades, twist drills, saw blades, drill bit, taps, reamers, and boring and milling cutters.

Tungsten Carbide Uses

Tungsten carbide (WC) is a dense, metal-like chemical compound composed of tungsten and carbon atoms in equal parts. It appears as a light gray powder that decomposes at 2,600° C.

The exceptional properties of WC, such as its durability, resistance to corrosion, and ability to endure high temperatures, make it highly sought-after in a variety of industries:

  • Machinery and Construction Industry
  • Jewelry Industry
  • Drilling and mining Industry
  • Milling Industry
  • Sports and Musical equipment
  • Production of surgical instruments

Machinery and Construction Industry

  • Cutting tools made of sintered tungsten carbide-cobalt are resistant to abrasion and commonly used for machining hard materials like carbon steel or stainless steel.
  • Carbide cutting tools such as drills, knives, circular saws, and turning and milling tools are made from tungsten carbide and are often utilized for construction purposes.

Jewelry Industry

  • The jewelry industry produces rings from sintered tungsten carbide, metallic tungsten, and tungsten carbide/metal composites.
  • WC is widely used to make earrings, necklaces, and various other forms of jewelry mainly for its hardness and high resistance to scratching.

Drilling and Mining Industry

  • WC is widely used in mining applications such as downhole hammers, top hammer rock drill bits, roller-cutters, tunnel boring machines, and raiseboring reamers.
  • WC is utilized in making long wall shearer picks and long wall plough chisels in underground coal mining.
  • WC is used for corrosion and wear-resistant elements in inlet control for sub-assemblies, well screens, seal rings, and bushings that are frequently used in oil and gas drilling.

Milling Industry

Tungsten carbide is a tough material that is easily moldable and is frequently used for mill inserts and end mills. Due to tungsten carbide’s versatility, extremely precise milling tools are possible.

Sports and Musical Equipment

  • Trekking poles, which are commonly used by hikers for balance and to reduce strain on leg joints, typically use carbide tips to provide traction on hard surfaces.
  • Drive tracks of motor sledges can be fitted with sharpened tungsten carbide-tipped spikes, which are also known as studs. These studs enhance traction and steering on harder icy surfaces.
  • To give horses a better grip on slippery surfaces like ice or roadways, tungsten carbide may be utilized in farriery, the practice of shoeing horses.
  • WC is suitable for use in musical instruments such as guitar slides. When compared to standard steel, glass, or brass slides, the density and weight of the slide provide superior amplitude and pitch.

Production of surgical instruments

Tungsten carbide is also used in the making of surgical instruments such as forceps, hemostats, blade handles, graspers, needle holders, cautery, etc.

Zirconiated Tungsten Uses

Tungsten is used in the production of welding electrodes, for instance, zirconiated tungsten electrodes contain at least 99.10% tungsten and 0.40 to 0.80% zirconium.

Zirconiated tungsten is applicable in the industry listed below:

  • Welding Industry

Welding Industry

  • Zirconiated tungsten electrodes are commonly used to weld metals with higher melting points on the surface than the subsurface metals beneath.
  • An extremely steady arc is formed by a zirconiated tungsten electrode, which also resists tungsten spitting.
  • Zirconiated tungsten has great resistance to contamination and retains a balled tip, making it perfect for welding aluminium using alternating current.

Copper Tungsten Uses

Copper-tungsten (WCu), a pseudo alloy, is a metal matrix composite mixture of copper (10-50%) and tungsten. It exhibits excellent thermal and electrical performance.

WCu has advantages such as high specific gravity, high temperature resistance, high strength, and arc ablation resistance, making it useful in industries such as:

  • Electrical Industry
  • Military High-Temperature Resistant Materials
  • Electro Machining Electrode
  • Microelectronic Materials

Electronics Industry

  • The unique properties of tungsten-copper alloys, such as anti-fusion welding, low cut-off current, and low thermal electron emission capability make them useful in high voltage switches. 
  • The CuW75 composite, which contains 75% tungsten, is frequently used in flanges, substrates, chip carriers, and frames for power semiconductor devices.

Military High-Temperature Resistant Materials

Due to its high-temperature resistance, WCu is utilized in aerospace as nozzles, air rudders, and gas rudders for missile and rocket engines.

Electro Machining Electrode

Tungsten-copper electrode applications include electrical discharge machining (EDM) electrodes, high-pressure discharge tube electrodes, and resistance welding electrodes.

Microelectronic Materials

Tungsten copper materials are frequently used for high-power device packaging, heat sink materials in heat exchangers, ceramics, heat dissipation components, and gallium arsenide bases because they have a thermal expansion coefficient that resembles gallium arsenide, silicon wafers, and ceramic materials.

Blue Tungsten Uses

Blue tungsten also referred to as lanthanated tungsten, are welding electrodes that are color coded with a blue band. It is well known for its high arc starting capacity and can resist many arc cycles.

Blue tungsten electrodes are used in welding applications as a negative electrode to conduct both DC and AC currents when constant current power sources, inverters or transformers, are used. The main reason for its uses is its high arc starting and current carrying capacity, and the potential to resist many arc cycles.

Grey Tungsten Uses

Grey tungsten, also known as Ceriated tungsten electrodes, contains at least 97.30% tungsten and 1.80 to 2.20 % cerium. They have a low-amp arc and limited radiation exposure.

The industry mentioned below is where grey tungsten is most commonly used:

  • Welding Industry

Welding Industry

  • Grey tungsten electrodes work effectively in AC procedures but work best in DC welding at low current values.
  • Grey tungsten, because of its outstanding arc initiation potential at low amperages, has gained popularity in the fabrication of orbital tubes and pipes, and thin sheet metal work.
  • Grey tungsten is best suited for welding carbon steel, stainless steel, titanium, and nickel alloys, and it can sometimes substitute 2% thoriated electrodes.

Purple Tungsten Uses

Purple tungsten is a rare-earth electrode that contains 98.34% tungsten, 1.5% lanthanum, 0.0.8% zirconium, and yttrium. It exhibits non-radioactivity and increased arc stability.

Purple tungsten is widespread and useful for all AC and DC welding applications involving stainless steel, non-alloyed and high-alloyed steel, nickel, titanium, aluminium, magnesium, and alloys. They are also best suited for automated welding due to their excellent ignition characteristics.

Thoriated Tungsten Uses

Thoriated tungsten is TIG welding electrodes that contain at least 97.30% tungsten and 1.7 to 2.2% thorium. It is less prone to oxidation and has a higher melting point.

Thoriated tungsten is used as a plasma-cutting electrode emitter in non-oxidizing plasma gas. The thorium in it increases tungsten’s electron emission, making it highly useful in DC welding applications. It is an excellent welding material for nickel alloys, titanium alloys, copper alloys, and non-corroding steels.

Tungsten U
Applications of Tungsten


A hard, dense metal with an atomic mass of 183.84 u u and 5 stable isotopes, tungsten, is also referred to as wolfram. This article has made it clearly evident that tungsten and its numerous alloys are utilized in every other industry and play a crucial role in our daily lives.