Tungsten, also known as wolfram, is a highly resilient and durable metal that belongs to Group 6 (VIB) of the periodic table. The demand for tungsten is largely driven by industrial applications such as aerospace, defense, automotive, and electronics industries. These sectors use tungsten in the manufacture of high-performance components due to its exceptional hardness, strength, and heat resistance. The demand for tungsten is anticipated to increase due to the growing adoption of renewable energy sources, as tungsten is an essential material for manufacturing photovoltaic cells and wind turbines.
The growing emphasis on environment friendly and sustainable transportation options is driving the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). As the demand for EVs rises, the demand for materials used in their production, such as tungsten, also increases. Tungsten is ideal for use in EV batteries owing to its high density and melting point. It can withstand the high temperatures and pressures that occur during the charging and discharging of the battery. Moreover, tungsten is a highly conductive material, making it an excellent choice for use in the electrodes of EV batteries.
Tungsten finds a wide range of applications, including its use in electrical wiring, welding, heavy metal alloys, turbine blades, and as a replacement for lead in bullets. Additionally, tungsten is utilized in the manufacturing of electrical contacts. As per the U.S. Geological Survey, the global production of tungsten was 84,000 metric tons (MT) in 2022, marginally higher than the previous year's output of 83,800 MT. China remains the primary producer of tungsten, with the majority of mining and processing operations taking place in the country. However, the production is anticipated to increase in 2023, driven by the reopening of mines in South Korea, Australia, and the U.K., which are significant sources of this critical metal.
Tungsten has several applications in the electronics industry, including its use in smartphones. Tungsten is utilized in the production of miniature electronic components, such as filaments for the vibration motor in smartphones, due to its high strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion. Tungsten is also used as a contact material in the radio-frequency (RF) circuitry of smartphones due to its high thermal and electrical conductivity. Furthermore, tungsten carbide is used in the production of micro-drills and cutting tools used in the manufacturing of smartphone components.
In terms of end use, the market has been segmented into aerospace components, automotive parts, boring & cutting equipment, electrical & electronics appliances, logging equipment, and others. Tungsten and its alloys are commonly used in the automotive industry for their excellent mechanical properties, high melting point, and resistance to corrosion. Tungsten has a density of 19.3 mg/m³, which is almost twice that of steel, making it ideal for use in applications where weight reduction is a critical factor. One of the primary applications of tungsten in the automotive industry is in the production of high-performance engine components, such as valve seats and pistons. Tungsten-based alloys are used to manufacture these parts due to their ability to withstand high temperatures and pressures, reducing wear and increasing the engine's efficiency.
By End Use
Boring & Cutting Equipment
Electrical & Electronics Appliances
MMG Australia Limited
Wolfram Mining and Hütten AG
Midwest Tungsten Service
Chongyi ZhangYuan Tungsten Co., Ltd.
Masan High-Tech Materials Corporation
H.C. Starck Tungsten GmbH
JAPAN NEW METALS CO., LTD.
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