TUNGSTEN

What Is Tungsten and Where Do I Use It?

  • Tungsten, also known as wolfram, is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74. It is a shiny, silvery-white metal.
     

  • It has the highest melting point of all metals and is alloyed with other metals to strengthen them. Tungsten and its alloys are used in many high-temperature applications, such as arc-welding electrodes and heating elements in high-temperature furnaces.
     

  • It is used in electronics, coating and joining technology, the automotive and aerospace industries, medical technology, the tooling industry and power engineering.
     

  • Tungsten carbide is immensely hard and is very important to the metal-working, mining and petroleum industries. It is made by mixing tungsten powder and carbon powder and heating to 2200°C. It makes excellent cutting and drilling tools, including a new ‘painless’ dental drill which spins at ultra-high speeds.

 

Where is Tungsten Produced?

  • China is the major producer of primary tungsten.
     

  • The other principal producing countries are Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Thailand and several countries in Africa.
     

  • Some mines which have closed in recent decades in Australia, South Korea and the USA are now considering re-opening.

 

Specific Issues

  • Due to its unique properties, tungsten, tungsten alloys and some tungsten compounds cannot be substituted in many important applications in different fields of modern technology.
     

  • China - the world’s largest supplier of tungsten ores, concentrates and intermediates - has placed restrictions on exports of these materials.
     

  • The export quota for tungsten has been falling over time, reducing from 15,700 tonnes to 15,400 tonnes between 2011 and 2012.

 

Applications

Critical Raw Materials Alliance c/o Ridens Public Affairs | Rue Belliard 40, 1040 Brussels | +32 (0) 2 786 3104 | info@crmalliance.org | Website by Elisabeth Laird

Home    About Us    Critical Raw Materials    CRM News    Events    Policy    Publications    MEP Interest Group    CRM Alliance Members    Join Us    Privacy Policy