3 Types of Refractory Metals

When you hear the word “metal,” the first few things that come to mind are probably gold, copper, nickel, and zinc. This doesn’t come as a surprise since structures, modes of transportation, currencies, and even pieces of jewelry feature these elements. The lesser-known relatives of these “traditional” materials are called refractory metals.

Thisrefers to a groupof substancesthat possess remarkable properties. They don’t melt under extremely high temperatures, react to acids, or get damaged due to overuse. High density is another key characteristic of these materials. Here are some types that are commonly used by refractory metal electrical contact assemblies and other manufacturers.

Molybdenum (Mo)

This metal is one of the most widely used typesdueto its impressive strength and resilience under extreme temperatures. The wear- and corrosion-resistant molybdenum is also known for being an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.

Because of these properties, molybdenum is often mixed as an alloywithsteel and other metals. The result isa product that’s stronger, harder, has higher electrical conductivity, and is more resistant to damage caused by overuse and oxidation. You can find this alloyin boiler coatings, circuit, electric heater filaments, switch electrodes, and superconductors, to name a few.

Rhenium (Re)

This element is obtained from various metal ores, including molybdenite, platinum, copper sulfide, and tantalite. After carbon and tungsten, rhenium has the highest melting point at 3,185 degrees C. This highly dense chemical doesn’t react with other elements like copper, silver, and tin.

Commonly found in powder form, rhenium is often mixed with other elements to increase their ductility and tensile strength. Rust resistance is another result of this combination, as this element doesn’t react to hydrochloric acid.Rhenium can be found in semiconductors, refractory metal contacts, thermionic converters, and thermocouples.

Tantalum (Ta)

This chemical element is so rare that its resources are said to be 15 times more scarce than gold.But aside from its rarity, tantalum is considered valuable because it’s known as one of the most corrosion-resistant materials. It’s also chemically inert, which means it can withstand chemical attacks at temperatures below 150 degrees C. Conversely, it becomes extremely reactive in higher temperatures but doesn’t melt until the heat reaches 3,020 degrees C.

Adding tantalum to any material increases its strength, ductility, melting point, and resistance to rust. This element is often used in making electrolytic capacitors, multi-tube heat exchangers, rupture diaphragms, and vapor condensers. Aircraft parts, chemical processing equipment, surgical appliances, and camera lensescontain tantalum, as well. When combined with cemented carbides, it can create hard-cutting tools that generate less friction.

Now that you’ve learned more about these special chemical elements, choosing items to use for your product’s parts will be much easier. Get in touch with companies that sell refractory metal contacts today.

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