Is Tungsten Magnetic?

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Is tungsten magnetic? Yes, tungsten is partially magnetic or paramagnetic because of unpaired electrons and the realignment of those electron paths due to an external magnetic field. Therefore, tungsten registers as weakly magnetic.

Courtesy: Live Science

Tungsten, often known as wolfram, is a chemical element with atomic number 74 with the symbol W. It’s a rare metal almost exclusively found in nature as a compound with other metals.

In addition to its low susceptibility to magnetism, tungsten’s other vital properties include reactivity, malleability, and conductivity. In this article, you will learn these properties as well as typical tungsten applications.


Tungsten is a generally non-reactive element that doesn’t react with water, is resistant to most acids and bases and doesn’t react with oxygen or air when exposed to it at room temperature. It interacts with oxygen at high temperatures to generate the trioxide compound tungsten (VI), WO3. 

Tungsten rods with evaporated crystals, partially oxidized with colorful tarnish. Purity 99.98 %, as well as a high pure (99.999 % = 5N) 1 cm3 tungsten cube for comparison.
Courtesy: Wikipedia

At ambient temperature, it will, however, react directly with fluorine (F2) to generate tungsten (VI) fluoride (WF6), a colorless vapor. It reacts with chlorine or bromine at roughly 250°C, and with iodine under specific heated circumstances.

In addition, here’s how tungsten reacts with common elements and compounds:

  • Oxygen – No chemical reaction at room temperature. Oxidation starts at 400℃ and progresses to 700℃, forming WO3.
  • Aqueos vapor – Oxidation progresses at 700℃.
  • Nitrogen – No chemical reaction up to 2000℃. Three stages of absorption up to 1700℃.
  • Hydrogen – No chemical reaction. Slight absorption below 1200℃.
  • Acid (room temperature) – No chemical reaction.
  • Acid (heat liquid) – Slight erosion.
  • Dilute sulfuric acid (room temperature) – No erosion.
  • Dilute sulfuric acid (heat liquid) – Slight erosion.
  • Concentrated sulfuric acid (room temperature) – Slight erosion.
  • Concentrated sulfuric acid (heat liquid) – Gradual erosion.
  • Nitric acid (room temperature) – Slight erosion.
  • Hydrofluoric acid – No erosion.
  • Nitric + Hydrofluoric acid – Rapid erosion.
  • Aqua regia (heat liquid) – Slightly dissolution, forming an oxide film.
  • Caustic soda (room temperature) – No erosion.
  • Thoria – Slight reduction of thoria at 2200℃.
  • Alumina – Reduction of alumina at 2000℃.


Like all other metals, tungsten is malleable. This pliable material can easily pull into a wire. It can form into various shapes by forging, drawing, or extrusion, but sintering is the most frequent method. Tungsten employs in a variety of real-world applications due to its high strength and relative ease of workability.

Sintered Tungsten
Courtesy: Alibaba


Based on tungsten’s classification as a metal, it should conduct electricity. On the other hand, tungsten is an exception to the general rule that metals provide good conductivity. Tungsten does not conduct electricity under typical conditions. The reason for such atypical behavior is tungsten has a high Van der Waals force. The high Van der Waals force, which quantifies the forces between atoms, inversely relates to conductivity.

vacuum metalizing
Courtesy: IndiaMART

That high Van der Waals force positively influences tungsten’s high melting point as well as an intense heat resistivity. These atypical properties for a metal allow for tungsten’s use in a variety of unique applications.


Due to the unique properties of tungsten, the metal cannot substitute in many vital applications in different fields of modern technology such as:

Tungsten in Industrial

carbide tipped tools
Courtesy: openPR

Cemented carbide, often known as hard metal, is Tungsten’s most common application Its primary component is tungsten carbide (WC), which is slightly more complicated than diamond.

Cemented carbides, widely used to manufacture cutting and mining products. Examples include drill bits, high-speed cutting tools, lathe tools, and milling cutters. These cutting applications combine the toughness and flexibility of a metallic alloy binder, such as Co, Ni, or Fe, with the hardness and strength tungsten carbide.

Tungsten in Alloys

Tungsten’s hardness and heat resistance can help make valuable alloys. High-speed steel, for example, might contain as much as 18 percent tungsten. Tungsten alloys employ in various industries, including aerospace and automotive, as well as radiation shielding. Turbine blades, wear-resistant parts, and coatings are superalloys containing tungsten, such as Hastelloy and Stellite.

Tungsten in Electronics

cathode ray tube
Courtesy: Wikipedia

Many high-temperature use Tungsten applications because of its high melting point and low vapor pressure, such as light bulbs, cathode-ray tubes, and vacuum tube filaments.

Tungsten’s ability to withstand extreme heat makes it an excellent material for electronics. Tungsten, for example, is utilized as an interconnect material between the silicon dioxide dielectric layer and transistors in integrated circuits. Due to its electrical structure, tungsten is also one of the most common X-ray targets.

Other Applications

Tungsten has a wide range of applications in addition to those listed above. Because tungsten has a similar thermal expansion to borosilicate glass, it is utilized to produce glass-to-metal sealing. Because of its similar density to gold, tungsten is also employed in jewelry like a gold or platinum alternative. It also has a bright future as a component in fuel cells and other energy-saving devices.

Tungsten oxides have two distinct properties – intercalation and polycondensation. Intercalation allows for the reversible inclusion or insertion of a molecule into layered materials. Polycondensation allows for the formation of polymers by combining different monomers. These properties expand the possibilities of tungsten compound formation and applications, both now and in the future.