Tungsten (W) - The Different Properties and Applications

Topics Covered

Chemical Properties
Physical Properties
Mechanical Properties
Thermal Properties


Tungsten is a hard metal with a lustrous and silvery white appearance. It is resistant to oxidation and attack by acids and alkalis. It is a bulky metal and has the highest melting point of any metal. The chemical name of tungsten is Wolfram, represented by W. Its atomic number is 74 and it belongs to the transition metal category, period 6 of the periodic table.

Two of the most important ores of tungsten are scheelite and wolframite. These minerals are mainly distributed in China, Austria, Russia, Portugal and Peru. This datasheet will elaborate on the properties and applications of this metal.

Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of tungsten are provided in the table below:

Chemical Data
CAS number 7440-33-7
Thermal neutron cross section 19.2 barns/atom
Electrode potential 4.5 V
Ionic radius 0.620 Å
Electro negativity 1.7
X-ray absorption edge 0.17837 Å
Electrochemical equivalent 3.43 g/A/h

Physical Properties

The following table discusses the physical properties of tungsten.

Properties Metric Imperial
Density 19.3 g/cm3 0.697 lb/in3
Melting point 3370 °C 6100 °F
Boiling point 5900 °C 10700 °F

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of tungsten are tabulated below.

Properties Metric Imperial
Tensile strength 980 MPa 142000 psi
Modulus of elasticity 400 GPa 58000 ksi
Shear modulus 156 GPa 22600 ksi
Poissons Ratio 0.28 0.28
Hardness, Brinell 294 294
Hardness, Vickers 310 310
Hardness, Knoop 318 318
Hardness, Rockwell A 66 66
Hardness, Rockwell C 31 31

Thermal Properties

The thermal properties of tungsten are tabulated below.

Properties Metric Imperial
Thermal expansion co-efficient (@20-100°C/68-212°F) 4.40 µm/m°C 2.44 µin/in°F
Thermal conductivity 163.3 W/mK 1133 BTU in/hr.ft².°F


The following are the application areas of tungsten:

  • Electronic industry
  • Automobile industry
  • Bulb filaments, arc welding electrodes and electric contacts
  • Alloying of steels
  • Microchip making and liquid crystal displays
  • X-ray tube coils, radiation therapy shields
  • Rocket nozzles
  • Aircraft and helicopter rotor balance weights

Tungsten compounds such as tungsten carbide are used in cement carbides.


  1. Nachiket Dalvi Nachiket Dalvi India says:

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