Understanding the Uses of Tungsten and Molybendum

Tungsten is used in everyday life and can be found in everything from jewelry to heating elements, light bulb filaments and in heavy metal alloys.

Tungsten was discovered in 1781, more than 230 years ago, but wasn’t applied for use in alloys for about 150 years. Though tungsten is rare—there are only 1.25 grams of tungsten per 1,000 kilograms of the Earth’s crust—it is very valuable. It only appears naturally when combined in four major mineral forms with calcium, iron or manganese, but plays an important role in manufacturing.

Steel is an alloy made up of iron and carbon and when mixed with other metals, it takes on different properties. Tungsten adds strength to steel. Tungsten is a basic chemical element and withstands heat better than any other metal. It is also twice as dense as steel. Tungsten carbine falls between 8.5 and 9 on Moh’s hardness scale, behind diamonds which have a hardness of 10. In addition, tungsten has the high melting point of all metals and has good resistance to corrosion.

As a result of its high melting point and high conductivity of electricity, the tungsten manufacturing process varies. After tungsten is extracted it can either be scrapped or used directly in steel manufacturing.

One tungsten manufacturing process is hydrometallurgy, which involves obtaining tungsten from its ores. Another tungsten manufacturing process is pyrometallurgy, which involves extracting tungsten using high temperatures. Once the metal is extracted, it is used in making tungsten carbide and in the manufacture of bullets, machinery, cutting tools and other metal items.

As an alternative, molybdenum doesn’t have the density of tungsten, but has a high melting point—4,748 degrees Fahrenheit—and is easier to use in machinery. It was recognized as an element in the late 1700s and have been used for many purposes over the last 200 years. As a result of its high melting point, molybdenum is often produced and sold as a powder and many molybdenum items are made by compressing that powder.

Like tungsten, molybdenum is used in alloys and improves strength, hardness and resistance to corrosion, just like tungsten. These alloys are used in engines and are used in drills, saw blades and other machinery.

Both tungsten and molybdenum have benefits in use for machinery and other things. With a high melting point, strength and excellent resistance to corrosion, they are both ideal metals to use for making machine parts, surgical instruments, sports items and cutting tools to name a few.

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