Where & Why Tungsten Heavy Alloy is Used?

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Tungsten heavy alloy (WHA) is a tungsten-based alloy that contains at least 90% tungsten and 10% other metals such as nickel, iron, and copper. WHA stands out for its great thermal performance, high hardness, large density, and other notable properties. With these desirable features, tungsten heavy alloy found lots of applications including counterweights, radiation shields, etc.

Tungsten Heavy Alloy

Figure 1 Tungsten Heavy Alloys

Therefore, this article is going to discuss the features, production methods, and uses of the invaluable tungsten heavy alloy in detail.

What Are The Features of WHA?

–Basic Features

Tungsten heavy alloy shares similar properties with pure tungsten.

  • First, this pure metal offers a perfect thermal performance since it has the highest melting point of 3410°C and a relatively high boiling point of 5700°C. Pure tungsten also has the lowest coefficient of thermal expansion.
  • Second, both tungsten heavy alloy and pure tungsten have numerous density applications like balance weights. This pure metal has the highest density of 19.3g/cm3, which is more than twice the density of common steel.

–WHA VS Pure Tungsten

Additionally, tungsten heavy alloy has several other advantages compared with pure tungsten.

  • The Temperature: The production of pure tungsten is quite difficult and costly because the melting point of this pure metal is too high, while WHA is manufactured at a much lower temperature which is half the melting point of pure tungsten.
  • The Size and Shape: WHA products don’t have any size and shape limitations since WHA manufacturing employs fine polished metal powder.
  • More Benefits: WHA possesses impressive radiation resistance, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, electric conductivities, and high strength as well. And it can be easily processed.

Related reading: Comparing The Melting Points Of Alloys With Their Constituent Metals

How to Manufacture WHA?

This impressive alloy is widely produced by powder metallurgy (P/M) method—liquid phase sintering (LPS), which can be divided into the following steps.

  • Blending: The first step is to combine fine, high-purity metal powders of tungsten, nickel, iron, and copper. Also, make sure the mixture is put under high pressure of about 30 ksi to form specific shapes.
  • Heating: Next, slowly heat these parts in hydrogen. Chemical diffusion and densification take place as the temperature rises.

Finally, we gained WHA products with a unique combination of density, strength, machinability, and economy.

What Are The Applications of WHA?

–WHA Is Used to Make Counterweights.

Tungsten heavy alloy is extensively used to make counterweight products for military uses and other fields. These counterweights have a high mass ratio, so you can get larger gravity within a smaller volume. They are also applied to everyday goods. There are lots of mechanical counterweights, weighting rods, and counterweight balls employing tungsten-heavy alloys.

Related reading: Military Tungsten Alloy Counterweight

–WHA Is Employed for Radiation Shielding.

With the development of modern science and technology, more and more radiation devices appear. How to prevent radiation hazards has attracted people’s attention. In order to protect medical workers and common people from the danger of radiation, advanced materials are employed to shield radioactive sources. WHA is one of them. For example, WHA shields are commonly used as radioisotope containers.

Related reading: Application of High Specific Gravity Tungsten Alloy In Medical Shielding

–WHA Is Used in The Defense Industry.

Last, let’s talk about military equipment made from tungsten-heavy alloys. It is rather easy to find them in warheads, aircraft shells, bomb shells, ships, tanks, and weapons.


Tungsten heavy alloy is an advanced material with great thermal properties, high density, and radiation absorption ability, and WHA has many applications including counterbalances, radiation shields, military devices, etc. Advanced Refractory Metals (ARM) is a leading supplier of a range of tungsten-heavy alloys. You can get reliable Tungsten Nickel Iron Alloy (W-Ni-Fe Alloy), Tungsten Nickel Copper Alloy (W-Ni-Cu Alloy), and Tungsten Alloy Counterweight Parts on our website. Send us an inquiry if you are interested.

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