Metals Designed for Particle Accelerators

In high-energy projects such as particle physics, particle accelerators are used for the acceleration and collision of basic particles like electrons and protons for disintegrating them into smaller, fundamental parts. The short-lived, sub-atomic particles are detected and subsequently analyzed to determine the way they interact with each other, the ultimate aim of which is to understand the physical laws of the universe.

For instance, inside the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, two high-energy particle beams travel in opposite directions with a speed close to that of light. Before colliding within advanced detectors, these particle beams are directed around an accelerator ring by a strong magnetic field created by superconducting electromagnets.

Beam collimators and shields are made using H.C. Starck’s tungsten (W) alloys. The unique properties of H.C. Starck’s tantalum (Ta) and niobium (Nb) metals make them the main choice for superconducting material to create the electromagnetic fields that steer and propel the charged particles to extremely high speeds. Moreover, H.C. Starck provides extrusion services for extruding superconducting wire bundles with a large diameter.

  • Mass spectroscopy
  • Magnetic levitation
  • MRI and NMR medical equipment
  • Particle accelerators
  • Nuclear fusion research equipment


  • Targets
  • RF cavities and supporting parts
  • Beam blockers
  • Shielding blocks
  • Calorimeters

W, Nb, Ta Products

  • Tube
  • Fabricated Parts
  • Sheet
  • Bar
  • Plate

H.C. Starck has delivered fabricated products such as tungsten slugs employed in the FCAL Section of the Atlas Detector of the LHC.

Refractory Metals

Refractory Metals

Refractory Metal Characteristics

The outstanding material properties offered by H.C. Starck ensure protection against radiation together with other highly desirable characteristics.

Tungsten High-Density Alloys

  • High strength
  • Excellent machinability
  • High density
  • High melting point


  • Low-temperature superconductivity (low resistivity)


  • High density
  • Good ductility
  • Excellent corrosion resistance
Property Data for Pure Metals* Niobium Tantalum Tungsten
Property Atomic Number 41 73 74
Atomic Weight 92.91 180.95 183.86
Lattice Type bcc bcc bcc
Mass Density at 20 ºC gm/cc 8.57 16.6 19.3
Thermal Melting Point ºC 2468 2996 3410
Properties Boiling Point ºC 4927 6100 5900
Linear Coefficient of Expansion per ºC 7.1x10-5 6.5x10-6 4.3x10-6
Thermal Conductivity at 20 ºC, cal/cm2/cm ºC/sec 0.523 0.13 0.4
Specific Heat cal/g/ºC, 20 ºC 0.126 0.036 0.032
Electrical Conductivity, %IACS 13.30% 13% 31%
Properties Resistivity, microohms-cm, 20 ºC 15 13.5 5.5
Temperature Coefficient of Resistivity per ºC (0-100 ºC) 0.00395 0.0038 0.0046

* Metal Alloys also available

Niobium and Tantalum Rod and Sheet for Superconductors

B365 (Ta) and ASTM B392 (Nb) Compliance

Niobium and Tantalum Rod and Sheet for Superconductors

Rod Sizes

  • Diameters: 10–130 mm
  • Maximum length: 2.5–7.5 m

Sheet Sizes*

  • Up to 1 m wide, 0.25–2.5 mm thick

*Other dimensions available upon request

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by H.C. Starck Fabricated Products.

For more information on this source, please visit H.C. Starck Fabricated Products.

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