In our series of materials on our materials page is Copper-tungsten alloy. Strictly speaking, CuW is a pseudo-alloy of copper and tungsten. Copper and tungsten are not mutually soluble. As a result, the alloy is made of tiny particles of one metal intermixed in a matrix of the other. In other words, metal matrix composite rather than a true alloy. Naturally, the resulting alloy contains properties unique to both elements. It is heat resistant, ablation-resistant, thermally and electrically conductive, and very easy to machine. This makes it ideal for a large number of metal finishing applications.
There are many where applications where this alloy with high heat resistance, high electrical and thermal conductivity, and low thermal expansion are useful. For example, this compound can be found in electric resistance welding, electrical contacts, and heat sinks. As the percent of copper falls, the compound becomes denser, harder, and has a higher resistivity.
An alloy with 70-90% tungsten is used in lining of specialty shaped charges useful for military and industrial applications, especially in oil well completion. The tungsten-copper lining keeps the charge and the density of the explosive from breaking up.
Alloys with around 75% of tungsten are used in chip carriers, substrates, flanges, and frames for power semiconductor devices. The thermal conductivity of copper added to the low thermal expansion of tungsten makes this allow great for pairing it with silicon, gallium arsenide, some ceramics, CuMo, AlSiC, and Dymalloy.
CuW is also great as contact material in a vacuum contact due to low cost, resistance to arc erosion, good conductivity, and resistance to mechanical wear. It is less effective outside oil, gas, and vacuum because it will corrode when exposed to oxygen. However, they still make good arc tips, arc plates, and an arc runner, even in the air.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are a huge number and variety of applications for copper-tungsten alloys. Copper-tungsten performs well in everything from electronics, to medium breakers, vacuum interrupters, just as a token demonstration of versatility.
We have a great deal of expertise working with all kinds of highly versatile materials. Visit our materials page for more compounds or contact us. We relish the opportunity to work with new materials. Let us know how we can help you in your next metal finishing project. Contact us at 888-275-0880 or 978-667-8298 for more information