What are the Main Properties of Refractory Metals?

What are the Main Properties of Refractory Metals?

Refractory Metals

Refractory metals are metal elements that tend to be used mainly in industries such as science and engineering, although they do have various properties that allow them to be suitable for a number of different industries. The metals that are most noticed and listed as refractory metals are molybdenum, niobium, tantalum, tungsten, zirconium, titanium and rhenium. Whilst most fabrication companies utilise a variety of different metals, here at Special Metal Fabrications, we specialise in the use of refractory metals (namely, those listed above). Buy why? In the following blog, we take a look at some of the main properties of refractory metals, exploring why refractory metals are so useful to a wide range of industries – and explaining why we choose to focus on them!

Heat Resistant

Extreme heat resistance is one of the main properties of refractory metals, thus making them suitable for a range of temperature-based applications. With melting points over 2000°C, refractory metals are perfect for situations where a product needs to withstand extreme heat, without changing shape in any way. These types of metals are also resistant to thermal shock, meaning they do not expand or crack when heated or cooled in a constant cycle. This makes refractory metals ideal for tools that need to be able to cope with potential fluctuations in temperature.


Thanks to the heat resistance of refractory metals, even at a high temperature, they are able to sustain an impressive level of strength and hardness. Such metals are therefore able to withstand a significant amount of forced physical pressure, before cracking, snapping or deforming in any way. Refractory metals will tend to be used in the manufacturing of items such as cutting or drilling tools. This is due to the fact that they are extremely hard to break and, in comparison to other available metals, they can deal with a huge level of physical pressure.

Conductors of Heat and Electricity

Not only do refractory metals demonstrate excellent heat-resistance, thus making them perfect for use in high-temperature applications, they are also excellent conductors. Heat and electrical conductivity are two of the most beneficial properties of refractory metals. For this reason, you will often find refractory metals are employed in the electrical and electronics industry – where they are used to create products such as cathodes and x-ray tubes.

Corrosion Resistant

Corrosion resistance is one of the main properties of refractory metals. They are far more corrosion-resistant than other types of metals and, as a result, they are useful to a wide range of different industries. For example, this is the reason why refractory metals are often employed in the chemicals industry. Tubes and piping manufactured from a refractory metal are able to withstand contact with various corrosion-causing chemicals – allowing chemicals to be transported from one location to another, with no physical damage or effect on the metal tube itself.  Adding to this, refractory metals are also incredibly resistant to wear and abrasion. This makes them particularly useful for items such as a seal or nozzle, improving their usability and extending their overall lifespan.

Creep Resistant

Excellent creep resistance is another useful property associated with refractory metals. Even after prolonged exposure to extreme force or mechanical stress, items constructed from a refractory metal will not gradually move or permanently deform. One refractory metal in particular, which demonstrates particularly good creep resistance, is molybdenum. Molybdenum products are therefore perfect for applications that require the use of excessive force and heat – such as the creation of a spacecraft airframe or gas turbines for aeroplanes.

Contact Special Metal Fabrications

Special Metal Fabrications specialise in the fabrication of refractory metals and our metal fabrication products are now used in a wide range of different industries. Our company may have only been established in 2004; however, collectively, our workforce has over 75 years of experience and a wealth of knowledge in the metal fabrication industry. Rest assured, all of our parts and products are manufactured from refractory metals and they possess all the useful properties highlighted above. If you would like to find out more about refractory metals and how they are useful to your industry, why not get in touch with Special Metals today. You can call us on 01268 820409 or email us at sales@special-metals.co.uk. Alternatively, fill out our online contact form and we will respond as soon as we can. Our team of specialists are always on hand and happy to help with your enquiries.

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