The major use for tungsten is in what are termed hard metals, or cemented carbides as they are also known.
Generally, these contain tungsten and carbides, which gives them a hardness that is close to that of a diamond. They are therefore useful for applications that require extreme abrasion resistance, such a mining drilling bits and cutting tips. In the western world over half of all tungsten is used in these applications, while in China it is somewhat less.
Tungsten is also an important element for hardening steels and other alloys, with almost half of Chinese demand being used for that purpose.
Other uses for tungsten are:
- Wire filaments in light globes
- Electronics components
- Parts for jet engines
- Sporting goods
- Additive to various chemicals