Tungsten, while a relatively rare and exotic metal, is used in many products that we encounter every day. Tungsten is both very heavy and very hard. Most of its applications stem from those two properties. It is also reasonably priced compared to the price of other rare and exotic metals. Its price is substantially below the Tantalum price, the Niobium price and the Hafnium price.
What is Tungsten Actually Used For?
Tungsten is used for the filaments of incandescent light bulbs (which had been Tantalum many years ago), as a component of Copper and Silver electrical contacts for increased wear resistance, as an ingredient in cutting tools, dies and carbide inserts and drills. Some of the other applications of Tungsten are as an ingredient in super alloys for the aerospace industry and the industrial gas turbine industry, as a wear resistant coating for machinery parts, as evaporation filaments for vapor deposition of Aluminum and Silver, and as a barrier coating in critical electronic devises (processors). There are many more uses of this versatile element including as a component in chemicals and catalysts. Additional reading on Tungsten can be found at http://www.chemistryexplained.com/elements/T-Z/Tungsten.html.
Tungsten’s unique properties of being very heavy, hard, and with a high melting point makes Tungsten scrap well suited for recycling. That fact that it is chemically resistant is a critical factor in recycling Tungsten. Thus it should not be surprising that Tungsten bearing scrap items are very sought after for recycling and command a high price relative to the value of Tungsten ore as is the case for the Tantalum scrap price and the Molybdenum scrap price. Tungsten is also one of the conflict minerals referred to as ‘the Three T’s and Gold’ (Tantalum, Tungsten, Tin and Gold). Exotech is proud to be certified Conflict Free continuously since 2011 and the first company processing scrap Tantalum to be certified Conflict Free.