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Tungsten copper alloy contact

Copper–tungsten (tungsten–copper, CuW, or WCu) alloy is a pseudo-alloy 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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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 alloy by pressing the tungsten particles into a desired shape, sintering the compacted part, then infiltrating with molten copper. Sheets, rods and bars of the alloy are available as well. 
 

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

Application
CuW alloys 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 alloy is resistant to erosion by electric arc. WCu alloys are also used in electrodes for electrical discharge machining and electrochemical machining.

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