Tungsten is a heavy metal that does not occur in nature in elemental form and must be extracted from minerals and ores. For this reason it was discovered relatively late, in 1783, by the Spanish chemists Fausto and Juan José Elhuyar.

Scheelite | Tungsten ore

The best known use of tungsten is in light bulbs. It is used in many branches of industry because this metal has an enormously high melting point and is very hard. Tungsten is an important alloying element in metallurgy, but can have both positive and negative effects on the properties of steel. Tungsten reacts with carbon to form tungsten carbide during steel production, which makes this steel very hard and ductile.

Tungsten has a negative effect on scaling resistance.

The influence of tungsten on the mechanical properties of steel:

Property Influence Degree
Corrosion resistance No bearing 0
Hardness Improvement + 1
Strength Improvement + 1
Yield strength Improvement + 1
Elasticity No bearing 0
Heat resistance Improvement + 3
Carbide formation Improvement + 2
Wear resistance Improvement + 3
Nitratability Improvement + 1
Strain Decrease - 1
Constriction Decrease - 1
Notched Impact Strength No bearing 0
Forgeability Decrease - 2
Scaling Decrease - 2
Machinability Decrease - 2

See also


Aluminium can be formed and machined extremely well. It is particularly suitable for lightweight constructions.

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Here you can find out why aluminium was discovered so late and how aluminium can be produced.

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The carbon concentration influences the hardness of steels. In this way, the right steel can be found for every application.

Read more

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