Copper–tungsten (tungsten–copper, CuW, Or WCu)

Copper–tungsten (tungsten–copper, CuW, Or WCu)

Copper–tungsten (tungsten–copper, CuW, or WCu) is a mixture of copper and tungsten. As copper and tungsten are not mutually soluble, the material is composed of distinct particles of one metal dispersed in a matrix of the other one. The microstructure is therefore rather a metal matrix composite instead of a true alloy.

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Describe:

Copper–tungsten (tungsten–copper, CuW, or WCu) is a mixture of copper and tungsten. As copper and tungsten are not mutually soluble, the material is composed of distinct particles of one metal dispersed in a matrix of the other one. The microstructure is therefore rather a metal matrix composite instead of a true alloy.


The material combines the properties of both metals, resulting in a material that is heat-resistant, ablation-resistant, highly thermally and electrically conductive, and easy to machine.


Parts are made from the CuW composite by pressing the tungsten particles into the desired shape, sintering the compacted part, then infiltrating with molten copper. Sheets, rods, and bars of the composite mixture are available as well.


Commonly used copper tungsten mixtures contains 10–50 wt.% of copper, the remaining portion being mostly tungsten. The typical properties is dependent on its composition. The mixture with less wt.% of copper has higher density, higher hardness, and higher resistivity. The typical density of CuW90, with 10% of copper, is 16.75 g/cm3 and 11.85 g/cm3 for CuW50 . CuW90 has higher hardness and resistivity of 260 HB kgf/mm2 and 6.5 µΩ.cm than CuW50.

tungsten copper bar 2

Application:

CuW composites are used where the combination of high heat resistance, high electrical and thermal conductivity, and low thermal expansion are needed. Some of the applications are in electric resistance welding, as electrical contacts, and as heat sinks. As contact material, the composite is resistant to erosion by electric arc. WCu alloys are also used in electrodes for electrical discharge machining and electrochemical machining.


The CuW75 composite, with 75% tungsten, is widely used in chip carriers, substrates, flanges, and frames for power semiconductor devices. The high thermal conductivity of copper together with the low thermal expansion of tungsten allows thermal expansion matching to silicon, gallium arsenide, and some ceramics. Other materials for this applications are CuMo alloy, AlSiC, and Dymalloy.

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