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How can you tell the difference between tungsten and tungsten carbide?
Tungsten and tungsten carbide are related materials, but they have distinct differences. Here are some key ways to differentiate between them:
- **Tungsten:** This refers to pure tungsten metal, which is a dense and heavy metal with a high melting point. In its pure form, tungsten is relatively soft and can be cut with a saw.
- **Tungsten Carbide:** This is a compound made up of tungsten and carbon atoms in equal parts. Tungsten carbide is a hard and durable material, often used in industrial applications and jewelry. It is much harder than pure tungsten.
- **Tungsten:** While tungsten is a hard metal, it is not as hard as tungsten carbide. It is still harder than many other metals, but it can be scratched.
- **Tungsten Carbide:** Known for its exceptional hardness, tungsten carbide is one of the hardest materials used in jewelry and industrial tools. It is highly resistant to scratching and wear.
- **Tungsten:** Often used in its pure form for applications where density and resistance to high temperatures are crucial, such as in the aerospace and defense industries.
- **Tungsten Carbide:** Widely used in cutting tools, drill bits, abrasives, and jewelry. Its hardness and durability make it suitable for applications where wear resistance is important.
- **Tungsten:** Has a lustrous, silvery-white appearance. Tungsten jewelry, for example, is often polished to a shiny finish.
- **Tungsten Carbide:** Tends to have a darker, gunmetal gray or black appearance. It can also be polished to a high shine, but the color is usually darker than pure tungsten.
- **Tungsten:** One of the densest elements, and it provides a substantial weight. Tungsten rings, for example, feel heavier than rings made from other metals.
- **Tungsten Carbide:** Although dense, tungsten carbide may be slightly less dense than pure tungsten, but it is still much denser than most other metals used in jewelry.
If you have a piece of jewelry or an item and are uncertain about whether it's made of tungsten or tungsten carbide, you may want to check any accompanying documentation or consult with the manufacturer or seller. Additionally, you can have the piece tested by a professional jeweler or use specialized testing equipment designed for such purposes.