Refractory Metal

Definition - What does Refractory Metal mean?

Refractory metal is a group of metal elements that has extraordinarily elevated melting points. These metals are resistant to corrosion, wear and all forms of deformation.

Corrosionpedia explains Refractory Metal

Refractory metals are composed of elements which form a group that has distinct qualities like high resistance to heat, wear and corrosion, making these ideal for numerous applications. These metals can be used in fabricating casting molds, wire filaments, and substance reaction vessels under corrosive environments. With their extremely high melting points, these metals can withstand creep deformation when subjected to extremely high temperatures. Refractory metals are commonly used in metallurgy, material science and engineering.

Other applications of refractory metals include:

  • Used in lubricants and lighting tools
  • Control rods (used in nuclear reaction)
  • Catalysts
  • Can be turned into: sheets, foil, ingots and wires

Five metals are considered to have the distinct characteristics that make up refractory metals:

  • Molybdenum
  • Tungsten
  • Niobium
  • Rhenium
  • Tantalum

Molybdenum, tantalum and tungsten have higher melting points and can be useful in glass making and the processing of molten metals. Tungsten also has outstanding strength.

Refractory metals have exceptional corrosion resistance. Due to this, piping in chemical plants often consists of refractory metals. These metals also offer excellent abrasion and wear resistance, especially in alloy form. For instance, refractory metals that are in alloy form can prolong the lifespan of:

  • Nozzles
  • Seals
  • Valve seats
  • Bushings
  • High water points
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