High Density Tungsten Powder

Table of Contents

Tungsten powder with high density finds extensive use across industrial, military, and technology applications. This guide provides comprehensive information on the properties, production, applications, suppliers, and costs of high density tungsten powder.

Introduction to High Density Tungsten Powder

High density tungsten powder is a fine particulate form of tungsten metal known for its:

  • Very high density up to 19.3 g/cm3
  • High strength and hardness properties
  • High temperature resistance
  • Thermal/electrical conductivity
  • Applications requiring high mass and durability
  • Use in alloys, composites, radiation shielding, and more

With density almost twice that of lead, tungsten makes an ideal material for applications requiring weight, compact size, kinetic energy, and vibration damping. This guide details the different types, production methods, properties, applications, suppliers, costs, and other considerations for high density tungsten powder.

high density tungsten powder

Types of High Density Tungsten Powder

Tungsten powder is available in different compositions and forms categorized by:

High Density Tungsten Powder Types

Pure tungstenOver 99.9% W, impurities like C, O, N, Fe
Tungsten heavy alloysW with Ni, Fe, Cu, Co
Tungsten carbideWC powder
Nanoscale tungstenUltrafine particle size under 100 nm
Spherical tungstenNear-perfect rounded particle shape
Chemically reduced tungstenIrregular morphology, high oxygen
Milled tungstenFlattened/folded particles from milling
  • Pure tungsten provides the highest density but can be brittle. Alloying improves toughness and workability.
  • Tungsten carbide boosts hardness and wear resistance significantly.
  • Specialty grades like spherical and nano powder offer enhanced properties.
  • Production method determines powder characteristics optimal for certain applications.

Production Methods for High Density Tungsten Powder

Tungsten powder can be produced through various techniques:

Tungsten Powder Production Methods

Hydrogen reductionReduction of tungsten oxide using hydrogen
Thermal decompositionHeating tungsten oxide in hydrogen atmosphere
Plasma atomizationMelted tungsten atomized using plasma torch
Electrode induction meltingMelted tungsten stream broken into droplets
Chemical reductionUsing reducing agents like ammonia on tungsten oxide
Mechanical millingBall milling tungsten into fine powder
  • Hydrogen reduction and thermal decomposition of tungsten oxide are common commercial production routes.
  • Plasma atomization generates fine spherical powders suitable for additive manufacturing.
  • Chemical reduction methods like ammonia can produce high purity powder.
  • Mechanical milling via ball milling can grind tungsten into fine particle sizes.
  • Alloy tungsten powder is produced by mixing elemental or prealloyed powders.
  • Secondary processing like vacuum sintering, annealing, spraying, etc. further tailors powder qualities.

Properties of High Density Tungsten Powder

The unique properties of tungsten originate from its high atomic mass and make it ideal for demanding applications:

High Density Tungsten Powder Properties

Density19.25 g/cm3
Melting point3422°C
Thermal conductivity173 W/mK
Electrical resistivity5.5 μΩ-cm
Tensile strength550-700 MPa
Elastic modulus400 GPa
Poisson’s ratio0.28
Thermal expansion4.5 x 10<sup>-6</sup>/K
  • Highest melting point of all metals. Retains strength at high temperatures.
  • Extremely high density provides excellent mass within a compact footprint.
  • Good thermal and electrical conductivity.
  • High elastic stiffness. Resists deformation under load.
  • Alloying with Ni, Fe, Co, Cu can optimize combinations of strength, ductility, and density.
  • Powder shape, size distribution, and processing conditions affect final part properties.

Applications of High Density Tungsten Powder

The unique properties of high density tungsten powder make it suitable for the following key applications:

High Density Tungsten Powder Applications

DefenseKinetic energy penetrators, ammunition, radiation shielding
AutomotiveTire studs, weights, vibration damping
AerospaceRadiation shielding, counterweights
ElectronicsElectrical contacts, heat sinks, sputtering targets
MedicalRadiation shielding, probes, surgical tools
SportsGolf club weights, darts, fishing lures
IndustrialDrill bits, cutting tools, wear parts
  • Penetrators: Tungsten alloys make extremely dense kinetic energy projectiles for armor piercing ammunition.
  • Radiation shielding: Tungsten’s density provides effective shielding from X-ray and gamma radiation in medical and defense sectors.
  • Vibration damping: The high mass efficiently damps vibrations in machinery and vehicles.
  • Electrical contacts: Tungsten’s conductivity and resistance to arcing is leveraged in switches, relays, and more.
  • Heatsinks: High thermal conductivity enables heat dissipation in electronics.
  • Wear parts: Extreme hardness resists wear even at high temperatures in cutting tools.

Global Suppliers of High Density Tungsten Powder

Some major companies supplying various grades of high density tungsten powder include:

High Density Tungsten Powder Suppliers

Wolfram CompanyAustria
HC StarckGermany
Xiamen TungstenChina
JX Nippon Mining & MetalsJapan
Midwest TungstenUSA
H. Cross CompanyUSA
TaeguTecSouth Korea
  • Leading suppliers have expertise in specialized production methods for high purity and advanced tungsten powder.
  • Custom alloys, particle size distribution, morphology, coatings, and other specifications can be provided.
  • A global supply chain and distribution network enables serving diverse markets.
  • Smaller regional manufacturers also supply tungsten powder tailored for local industry needs.

Cost Analysis of High Density Tungsten Powder

As a rare metal, tungsten powder commands higher pricing than common metals like steel or copper powder:

Cost Drivers for High Density Tungsten Powder

  • Purity levels and chemistry
  • Particle shape and size distribution
  • Purchase volumes
  • Production process complexity
  • Raw tungsten prices
  • Supplier margins and location

Tungsten Powder Price Ranges

TypePrice Range
Pure tungsten, standard grade$40-100 per kg
High purity tungsten$150-250 per kg
Tungsten heavy alloy powder$50-150 per kg
Nanoscale tungsten powder$200-2000 per kg
  • Higher purity levels increase cost. Specialty grades command a premium.
  • Smaller particle sizes and spherical morphology are more expensive to produce.
  • Large volume purchases can lower per-unit cost significantly.
  • Location factors like transportation, import duties affect final pricing.
  • Fluctuating supply-demand dynamics for raw tungsten impact pricing.

Standards and Certifications

Key standards applicable to tungsten powder composition, quality, and manufacturing include:

  • ASTM B772: Standard Specification for Tungsten Base Powders
  • ISO 18323: Specification for wrought tungsten
  • ASTM B939: Radiation exposure testing of tungsten
  • AMS 7999: Spherical tungsten powder specification
  • ISO 9001: Quality management system certification
  • REACH: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals compliance in the EU

Factors to consider when purchasing:

  • Supplier ISO 9001 certification and ASTM/ISO compliance
  • Composition analysis and lot test certificates
  • Industry-specific certifications as required
  • Regulatory compliance for geographical regions

Tungsten vs. Depleted Uranium Comparison

Tungsten vs. Depleted Uranium Powder

ParameterTungstenDepleted Uranium
Density19.25 g/cm318.9 g/cm3
RadioactivityNon-radioactiveLow-level radioactive
ToxicityModerateHigh from heavy metal toxicity
ProductionConventional mining and processingByproduct of nuclear enrichment
ApplicationsBroad rangeRestricted applications
AvailabilityReadily availableLimited supply
  • Tungsten has slightly higher density than depleted uranium.
  • It offers non-radioactive, cost-effective high density compared to radioactive depleted uranium.
  • Tungsten has lower environmental and health risks during material handling.
  • Higher cost but easier availability makes tungsten attractive for commercial applications.
  • Depleted uranium use faces regulatory restrictions and public perception issues.
high density tungsten powder

Key Takeaways on High Density Tungsten Powder

  • With density of 19 g/cm3, tungsten makes an extremely heavy and compact material.
  • Major production routes are hydrogen reduction and thermal decomposition of tungsten oxides.
  • Key applications leverage density for radiation shielding, projectiles, vibration damping, electrical contacts.
  • Alloying with Ni, Co, Fe improves toughness and workability compared to pure tungsten.
  • Leading mining and powder metallurgy companies offer various powder grades.
  • Cost is higher than standard metals but lower than rare earths or precious metals.
  • Compliance with international standards ensures suitability for industrial uses.


Q: What is high density tungsten powder used for?

A: Main uses are radiation shielding, kinetic energy penetrators, counterweights, tire studs, electrical contacts, heat sinks, and vibration damping leveraging its very high density.

Q: Is tungsten powder toxic?

A: Tungsten powder is not highly toxic but inhalation of fine powders can pose a respiratory hazard requiring protective measures during handling.

Q: What is the difference between tungsten and tungsten carbide powder?

A: Tungsten carbide (WC) powder is extremely hard and wear resistant. Tungsten metal powder has higher toughness and thermal/electrical conductivity.

Q: How is tungsten powder made?

A: Major production methods are direct hydrogen reduction, thermal decomposition, plasma atomization, chemical reduction, and mechanical milling of tungsten oxides to tungsten powder.

Q: Why is high density tungsten used in military applications?

A: The extreme density makes tungsten ideal for armor piercing kinetic energy penetrators that rely on momentum transfer and resistant radiation shielding.

Q: What are some examples of tungsten alloys?

A: Common alloys include tungsten-nickel-iron, tungsten-nickel-copper, and tungsten-silver used when easier machining and forming is required.

Q: Is tungsten environmentally hazardous?

A: Tungsten metal itself has relatively low environmental risks but processing of ores and dust inhalation require proper controls and personal protection.

Q: What is nano tungsten powder?

A: Nano tungsten powders have ultra-fine particle sizes under 100 nm (0.1 microns). Nanostructure enhances strength, reactivity, sintering, and other properties.

Q: Is tungsten powder flammable or explosive?

A: Like most metals, tungsten powder itself is not flammable or explosive under normal conditions. But fine dust when mixed with air can pose a fire or explosion risk requiring precautions.

Q: Where is tungsten primarily mined?

A: China accounts for over 80% of global tungsten mine production, followed by Russia, Canada, Bolivia, Austria, and Portugal as leading producers.

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