Tungsten Metal Powder

Table of Contents

Overview of tungsten metal powder

Tungsten metal powder refers to fine particulate material composed primarily of elemental tungsten for use in various industrial applications. Key properties include extremely high density, strength, hardness, and high temperature durability.

Common applications of tungsten powder include:

  • Tungsten carbide composites
  • Tungsten heavy alloys
  • Thermal spray coatings
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Electrical contacts
  • Radiation shielding

Tungsten is considered a critical raw material for its unique performance combined with precarious supply dynamics. Continue reading to learn more about specifications, processing, pricing and uses of tungsten powder.

tungsten metal powder

Material Types of tungsten metal powder

Tungsten metal powder comes in several primary compositions:

TypeTypical GradesComposition
Pure Tungsten99.9%, 99.99% purityElemental tungsten with impurity limits
Oxide-Dispersed TungstenY2O3 additionsTungsten with 0.5-1% yttrium oxide nanoparticles
Doped TungstenLanthanum or other dopantsTungsten with added grain growth inhibitors < 1% level

Table 1: Common material categories for tungsten metal powders depending on application needs

Special dopants or oxide additives help tailor powder properties during consolidation into end-user components and parts requiring stability at high temperatures.

Key Properties

PropertyTypical ValueSignificance
Density19.3 g/ccProvides excellent mass and radiation blocking
Melting Point3410°CRetains strength at extreme temperatures where most metals fail
Ultimate Tensile Strength550-620 MPaRelatively brittle material with moderate tensile ductility
HardnessHV 300-350Harder than tool steel
Young’s Modulus350-410 GPaStiff, resistant to deflection
Thermal Conductivity165 W/mKUseful in thermal management parts operating at high temps

Table 2: Overview of mechanical and physical properties exhibited by tungsten metal powder and consolidated alloys

The unrivaled temperature resistance combined with density drives adoption in demanding energy, aerospace, defense and electronics applications.

Particle Characteristics of tungsten metal powder

Typical tungsten powder morphology:

Purity99.9% to 99.999% available
Particle shapeIrregular, angular
Size distribution1 to 100 micron typical
Oxygen content<100 ppm
Surface oxide level<50 nm thicknes

Table 3: Powder quality metrics for tungsten metal powders used in various consolidation processes

Care must be taken to prevent oxidation during powder handling. Chemistries tailored to final part density and grain structure targets.

Production Process

  • Primary methods to produce tungsten metal powder:
    • Hydrogen Reduction (Hydrogen is used to convert oxide feedstocks to powder)
    • Thermite Process Reduction (Exothermic oxide-metal reactions produce powder)
  • Secondary mechanical processes:
    • Jet Milling (Feedstock crushed into fine particles via collisions)
    • Rotating Electrode Process (Electrode spinning and melt disintegration)
  • Typical powder-part consolidation techniques:
    • Hot Isostatic Pressing
    • Sintering
    • Additive Manufacturing (SLM, EBM)
  • Environment and handling considerations:
    • Nominally inert storage <40°C under argon
    • Glove box handling to prevent oxidation

Applications of tungsten metal powder

Major uses of tungsten metal powder across industries:

SegmentApplicationReason for Use
IndustrialTungsten carbide materialsExtreme hardness and toughness for machining and mining tools
DefenseKinetic energy penetratorsSuperior density properties
AerospaceRocket engine nozzlesMaintains material strength in extreme environments
EnergyHeat shields, plasma torch componentsHigh temperature performance where alternatives fail
ElectronicsElectrical contactsArcing resistance combined with thermal/conductivity properties

Table 4: Overview of key application areas for tungsten metal derived components in various industries

Tungsten sees ubiquitous use in products where hardness, density, toughness and strength are essential under extreme temperatures or loading.

Cost Analysis

Typical tungsten powder pricing:

Powder Price$50 to $350 per kg
Consolidated Part Price$100+ per kg
Processing Yield60-70%
Primary SuppliersChina, Austria, Portugal, USA, Russia other countries
Lead Times6-12 weeks frequently

Table 5: Buying factors including raw material costs for tungsten products

Consumers report extreme pricing volatility making budgetary planning difficult in the tungsten market. Established partnerships and supply agreements mitigate risks.

Pros and Cons


  • Extremely high density helps radiation shielding
  • Maintains strength to over 3000°C where most metals melt
  • Relatively neutral material avoids contamination
  • Powder form supports complex geometries with some AM processes
  • Hardness similar to tool steel once parts consolidated


  • Brittle characteristics mean low tensile ductility
  • Difficult to fully densify parts without pinholes and voids
  • Requires specialized cold-wall vacuum equipment for melting
  • Risk of supply chain disruptions impacting availability
  • Oxidation risk necessitates controlled handling
  • Very expensive compared to steel alternatives
tungsten metal powder


Q: What particle size range is typical for tungsten powders used in various applications?

A: Most common size distributions fall between 1-100 microns. Finer particles pack better aiding full densification but have handling issues. Particle engineering depends on consolidation method with AM range generally 10-45 microns and carbide composites using up to sub-micron powders.

Q: What alloying elements can be incorporated into tungsten metal powder?

A: Typical alloyants like nickel, iron and copper severely degrade high temperature performance so are rarely added. Rhenium improves ductility slightly. Oxide particles help pin grain size. Rare earth dopants also stabilize properties. Alloying options are limited to small additives to maintain purity.

Q: What recommended storage and handling precautions apply for tungsten powders?

A: Like other air sensitive materials, tungsten metal powder should be kept below 40°C under inert argon gas to prevent oxidation from moisture or oxygen. Glove box protocols are necessary including leak checks. Never allow contact with organics during handling to prevent contamination or reactions.

Q: Does tungsten powder require hazardous material classification and special shipping?

A: Elemental tungsten metal powder is benign and not reactive. It qualifies for normal freight shipping in approved packaging similar to other industrial raw materials. No special DG classification needed unlike carbide grades with controlled cobalt content considered hazardous mixtures.

Q: What downstream parts production processes are compatible with tungsten powder feedstocks?

A: Hot isostatic pressing and sintering generate standard consolidated components like weights or heat shields. Additive manufacturing via powder bed fusion creates complex geometries unattainable otherwise. Powders also serve thermal spray coating feedstocks requiring post-consolidation.

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