Tungsten wire is a solid and durable metal wire that has become increasingly popular due to its versatility. You might be surprised at Tungsten’s wide range of applications, from photocopiers to lightbulb filaments, and more. This blog post will look at 12 of the most common uses of tungsten wire and how it is made. So, let’s take a closer look at Tungsten wire uses.
How Is Tungsten Made into Wire?
What is tungsten wire made of? Tungsten wire is made of tungsten, a rare metallic element with the symbol W and atomic number 74. It is a grayish-white metal that is extremely dense, strong, and hard. Here’s how it transforms into wire:
Tungsten powder is sifted and blended with a binder. It’s then weighed, put into a steel mold, and compressed into a unified, delicate bar.
The bar is placed into a refractory metal boat and inside a hydrogen atmosphere furnace. The high temperature consolidates the bar’s density, with little grain growth.
3. Full Sintering
At this stage, the bar is loaded into a water-cooled treating bottle, and an electric current is passed through it to create heat and increase the bar’s density to 85-95% of its total density.
While the bar is solid, it’s still brittle at room temperature. Therefore, the temperature must be raised between 1200°C and 1500°C To increase its malleability. At this temperature, the rod is passed through a swager, a device that reduces the diameter of the rod by hammering at it at about 10,000 blows per minute.
This process elongates the crystals within the bar, creating a fibrous structure, which is beneficial for ductility and strength. The swaging process continues until the rod is between .25 and .10 inches.
Swaged wire of about .10 inches can be drawn through dies to reduce the diameter. The type of die used – tungsten carbide or diamond – determines the exact reduction in diameter based on the wire’s chemical makeup and end purpose.
Fibers become longer as the wire is drawn, and the tensile strength increases. If further processing is required, an annealing process may be necessary. This process reduces the wire to a diameter as small as 0.0005 inches.
12 Uses of Tungsten Wire
Tungsten wire is a strong and heat-resistant material with good electrical conductivity, used in a variety of applications, from medical devices to aerospace components, welding and electronics, light bulbs, and industrial components.
Tungsten carbide welding wire is an essential part of the hard-facing process, as it provides the necessary strength and wear resistance required for the job. It is also relatively easy to work with and offers a high degree of control over the weld.
Made from an alloy of iron and other metals, the tungsten welding wire is often used to hard-face components exposed to high temperatures, wear, and corrosion.
Selecting the correct type of tungsten welding wire is essential; our options include Acetylene Tubemetal, Electric Tubemetal, Horse Shoe Tubemetal, and Acetylene Sintered.
2. Industrial Furnace Support Structures
Tungsten wire supports objects in industrial furnaces and ovens, as it can maintain its shape even in the highest temperatures.
It is ideal for woven oven mats and other weight-bearing surfaces because it prevents the object from sagging, collapsing, or falling apart and keeps it in the optimal position in the hot zone.
Tungsten heating elements can also be used in industrial furnaces, although their purpose differs from that of tungsten wire, as it serves as an electrode to provide heat.
3. Incandescent Lamps
Tungsten wire is used for incandescent lamps because it has a high melting point and can withstand temperatures up to 3,000°C. It is also ductile, meaning it can be bent into different shapes and sizes, making it well-suited for various light bulb shapes. Due to its excellent conductivity of electricity, it’s perfect for use in the filaments of lamps.
The high-temperature properties of tungsten wire make it an invaluable part of borescopes used to inspect or measure the interior of scorching environments. These optical devices are used to investigate engines, turbines, pipes, and tanks inaccessible by other means.
Tungsten wire helps the borescope retain its shape and function in these high-temperature, hostile environments. Furthermore, tungsten wire offers the stiffness required for delivery in a high-temperature environment.
Gold-plated tungsten wire is commonly used as an electrode wire in photocopiers. This type of tungsten wire is coated with a layer of gold to protect the wire from corrosion. It also gives it a more attractive and brighter surface than other forms of tungsten wire, such as wolframite and scheelite.
Gold-plated tungsten wire is also highly corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for use in scientific and research fields such as high-energy physics and meteorology.
Did you know Tungsten wire is used as the heating element in hairdryers because it has a high melting point of more than 3,400 degrees Celsius, high-temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, low thermal expansion coefficient, good winding performance, and does not sag?
Hairdryers have a fan and a heating element (tungsten wire) installed in the air outlet. The fan draws air in and blows out heated air through the nozzle.
7. Iodine-Tungsten Lamps
Iodine tungsten lamps are highly bright and long-lasting, making them great lighting sources for cinematography, stages, factories, buildings, and squares. They also reduce tungsten evaporation and improve the working temperature and luminous efficiency.
These lamps are tiny and delicate – a 500-watt bulb is only 1% of the volume of an incandescent bulb! The glass shell is filled with inert gas at a pressure of 1.5 to 10 atmospheres, making Iodine tungsten lamps small yet strong.
8. Electron Emitters
Of all metals in pure form, Tungsten has the highest melting point, lowest vapor pressure, lowest thermal expansion, and high tensile strength – all ideal properties for making an electron source that allows the wire to remain in the required shape for generating the electron beam.
Hence why it’s used in tools such as scanning electron microscopes (SEMs), transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), and microprobes utilized in spectrometry systems.
9. Charging Lighters
Tungsten wire is suitable for charging lighters due to its excellent heat resistance. When the switch is turned on, the tungsten wire heats up until it is red hot, allowing it to be used as a flame to light cigarettes.
In contrast to ordinary flame lighters that use direct combustion, tungsten produces no visible flame. It works by heating the air around it with electricity, causing the air to expand until it is expelled from the lighter.
Tungsten wire is an excellent choice for thermocouples, thermoelectric devices used to measure and monitor extreme temperatures in kilns, gas turbines, diesel engines, and other industrial processes.
Additionally, they can be used as temperature sensors in thermostats or flame sensors in safety devices for gas-powered appliances. Tungsten rhenium is a suitable alternative in extremely high temperatures where tungsten may become brittle
11. Semiconductor Production
Tungsten wire is still necessary for many electronic applications, even as integrated circuits are becoming more commonplace. This is because tungsten is the only material that can withstand the extreme temperatures of the silicon production process. It is also used as cantilever probe needles to test integrated circuits while they are still on monocrystalline wafers.
12. Ion Implantation
Tungsten heavy alloy is employed in a particularly advanced technique known as ion implantation – a materials engineering process used to change the solid’s physical, chemical, or electrical properties.
It is used in the fabrication of semiconductor components, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and in the surface modification of other materials. The tungsten heavy alloy serves as the ion implantation chamber and the electrode for creating the ion beam.
Need Industrial Tungsten Products?
Tungsten wire has numerous industrial uses and is becoming increasingly popular due to its unique properties that can produce difficult or even impossible results compared to other methods at a similar cost. At Lineagemet., we have Tungsten wire for sale and a wide range of Tungsten products for industrial applications. If you’re looking for a tungsten wire spool, powder, grit, or rods, we can help!