Rare

The abundance of tungsten in the Earth’s crust is thought to be about 1.5 parts per million.

Tungsten or Wolfram is considered to be one of the more rare elements.

Heavy

Your music tastes may well not stretch to heavy metal, but tungsten is a very dense metal meaning that for the same weight the volume is far less than many other more commonly used metals.

When translated from Swedish it means heavy stone.

Its density is 19.25 times that of water, comparable with that of uranium and gold, and much higher (about 1.7 times) than that of lead.

 

Expensive

Tungsten has a price tag to match, at the time of writing it was 8 times more expensive than premium aircraft grade steel and 10 times more than aluminium.

As a result of its hardness manufacturing costs are higher, machining is a more complex, difficult and costly process.

 

Heavy * Expensive = Expensive²

To produce the same sized part using only stainless steel you need to consider the price per volume, not price per kilo, of material as it’s compounded by the amount of material needed.

This makes tungsten approximately 19 times more expensive than aircraft grade stainless steel.

It’s also a lot more costly to work with on account of how hard tungsten is.

The Mohs Scale of Hardness for Metals

The Mohs scale is a system used to rank materials on their hardness, which is graded using numbers from 1 to 10. It can be used to compare gemstones, metals and other materials, and evaluate their relative durability.

  • Lead: 1.5
  • Gold: 2.5-3
  • Steel: 4-4.5
  • Tungsten: 7.5
  • Diamond: 10