Tungsten-Copper Chemical Etching

Tungsten-Copper chemical etching is used for components requiring high-heat resistance, high electrical and thermal conductivity, and low thermal expansion.

Tungsten-Copper, also known as Copper-Tungsten, CuW, or WCu, is a mixture of Tungsten and Copper.

Tungsten-Copper Chemical Etching

As the elements are not mutually soluble, the material is composed of distinct particles of one metal dispersed in a matrix of the other. The microstructure is therefore a metal matrix composite rather than a true alloy.

Fotofab’s chemical etching process produces designs that can withstand harsh indoor and outdoor environments. The process uses an acid (Ferric Chloride) to etch into unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design or image formed to your project’s applications.

Characteristics of Tungsten-Copper

  • Excellent arc resistance
  • Good thermal and electrical conductivity
  • Low thermal expansion
  • Good machinability

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Tungsten-Copper Etching Applications

The electrical and thermal properties of Tungsten-Copper are dependent on its composition and are used where the combination of high-heat resistance, high electrical and thermal conductivity, and low thermal expansion are needed. Some applications for acid etched Tungsten-Copper include:

  • Electrodes in resistance welding
  • Arc contacts and vacuum contacts in high/medium voltage breakers or vacuum interrupters
  • Electrodes in electric spark erosion (EDM) cutting machines
  • Heat sinks and heat spreaders for passive cooling of electronic devices

Other Factors

  • An increase in Copper increases WCu thermal conductivity for use in circuit breakers
  • An increase in the percentage of Tungsten increases the element’s electrical resistivity
  • An increase in Tungsten leads to an increase in ultimate tensile strength up until the alloy reaches 80% Tungsten and 20% Copper with an ultimate tensile strength of 663 MPA
  • Copper tungsten materials are often used for arcing contacts in medium to high voltage sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) circuit breakers in environments that can reach temperatures above 20,000 K

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