What is tungsten?
Tungsten is a chemical element with the symbol “W” and the number 74 in the periodic table. It is a rare metall and has the highest melting point of all metalls and the second highest melting point of all elements. The melting point of Tungsten is at 3422 °C (6192 °F). Tungsten does not exist in it pure form in nature, it always appears in some kind of combination, very commonly as an oxide.
Tungsten is mainly mined in China. China has a market share of around 80% of all mined tungsten.
Applications of tungsten
In the public, tungsten is mainly known from light bulbs. Due to the high melting point, a tungsten spindle was used in classic light bulbs, which was then made to glow. Today, about 65% of the mined tungsten is processed into tungsten carbide and used for cutting tools. Another application is ammunition. Due to its high density and high melting point, tungsten is often used as an alternative to ammunition containing uranium.
In PVD coating, tungsten carbide layers are used to produce particularly low-friction and resistant coatings. A common application is the internal combustion engine, where thin, low-friction and chemically resistant coatings can significantly extend the life of an engine.
PVD-coatings from tungsten carbide
Tungsten carbide targets can be divided into two categories, binder-containing and binder-free. In binder-containing tungsten carbide targets, cobalt is used as a binder. The binder cobalt allows tungsten carbide to be processed at lower temperatures and the material is less brittle. As a result, tungsten carbide targets containing cobalt are also much cheaper to produce. The downside is that cobalt is a known carcinogen and thus appropriate safety precautions must be taken. Tungsten carbide dusts containing binder must be meticulously exhausted and never inhaled under any circumstances. This means a significant investment in equipment and exhaust systems to protect employees from cobalt.
For this reason, we do not produce WC targets containing cobalt, only binder-free tungsten carbide targets. All our tungsten carbide targets are powder metallurgically produced in Germany. In Europe, we are one of the largest manufacturers of tungsten carbide sputtering targets and supply both sputtering targets and arc cathodes made of tungsten carbide.
A common size for tungsten carbide cathodes is 63×32 mm, suitable for many Eifeler and Mataplas systems. For tungsten carbide sputtering targets, a common size is 170x75x12 mm, suitable for many Hauzer coating lines. We can also provide these sizes at short notice, as there is always a minimum stock available.
You want to coat tungsten carbide? Contact us and we will help you to find the right target for your equipment. We can also produce and deliver small quantities according to your needs.