What is the Difference Between Tungsten and Stainless Steel

In industries where durability and resistance are important, choosing the right materials can be tough. Tungsten and stainless steel stand out as solutions to this challenge. Understanding the difference between tungsten and stainless steel is essential for industries aiming for reliability and performance in their products and processes.

What is the difference between tungsten and stainless steel? Tungsten is a metal, whereas stainless steel is an alloy. In addition, tungsten has a much higher melting point than stainless steel. 

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Tungsten  
      – Definition, Features, Applications
2. What is Stainless Steel
      – Definition, Features, Applications 
3. Similarities Between Tungsten and Stainless Steel
      – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Tungsten and Stainless Steel
      – Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: Tungsten and Stainless Steel
      – Frequently Asked Questions

Key Terms

Tungsten, Stainless Steel, Wolfram

Difference Between Tungsten and Stainless Steel - Comparison Summary

What is Tungsten

Tungsten is a metal with unique properties that make it highly valuable in various industrial and technological applications. Also known as wolfram, it has the highest melting point of all elements, reaching an impressive 3,422 degrees Celsius (6,192 degrees Fahrenheit). This characteristic, along with its exceptional hardness, makes tungsten ideal for use in high-temperature environments and as a component in the production of tools like cutting and drilling equipment.

One of tungsten’s notable applications is in the manufacturing of incandescent light bulb filaments. Its ability to withstand extreme heat without melting allows these filaments to emit a steady and bright light. Additionally, tungsten is a crucial element in the production of electronic devices, as it is used in the creation of semiconductors and integrated circuits. Its thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity contribute to the efficiency and performance of these components.


Beyond its industrial applications, tungsten is also utilized in the jewelry industry due to its hardness and resistance to scratching. Tungsten carbide, a compound of tungsten and carbon, is commonly used to create durable and stylish jewelry pieces.

What is Stainless Steel

Stainless steel, a corrosion-resistant alloy made primarily of iron, chromium, nickel, and other elements, owes its durability to the formation of a passive oxide layer on its surface, protecting it from environmental factors. Its mechanical properties, such as strength and toughness, make it a preferred choice for construction, manufacturing, and infrastructure projects. In architecture, stainless steel’s resilience to harsh weather and appealing aesthetics have led to its widespread use in modern structures, bridges, and monuments.

Stainless Steel

In addition to structural applications, stainless steel is highly valued in the culinary industry for its hygienic properties, ease of cleaning, and resistance to corrosion, making it the material of choice for kitchen appliances, cookware, and cutlery. It also finds extensive use in the healthcare sector for medical instruments and equipment due to its non-reactive nature.

Stainless steel’s versatility extends to the automotive and aerospace industries, where its lightweight yet durable characteristics improve fuel efficiency and structural integrity. Moreover, its recyclability adds to its sustainability, aligning with contemporary environmental concerns.

Similarities Between Tungsten and Stainless Steel

  1. Both tungsten and stainless steel are widely used materials in various industries.
  2. They possess excellent mechanical properties, including strength and durability.
  3. Both materials are resistant to corrosion, making them suitable for applications in harsh environments.

Difference Between Tungsten and Stainless Steel


  • Tungsten is a chemical element, while stainless steel is an alloy composed primarily of iron, chromium, nickel, and other elements.


  • Tungsten is known for its exceptional hardness, making it one of the hardest materials. Stainless steel, while durable, is generally not as hard as tungsten.


  • Tungsten is significantly denser and heavier than stainless steel.

Melting Point

  • Tungsten has an extremely high melting point of 3,422 degrees Celsius, while stainless steel has a lower melting point compared to tungsten, typically ranging from 1,370 to 1,420 degrees Celsius.


  • Tungsten is often used in applications requiring extreme durability and heat resistance, such as aerospace components, electrical contacts, and high-speed cutting tools. On the other hand, stainless steel finds widespread use in various industries, including construction, automotive manufacturing, kitchen appliances, medical instruments, and architectural structures.


In conclusion, tungsten, a remarkable metal with unparalleled hardness and a sky-high melting point, finds its niche in high-temperature environments, electronics, and jewelry. Stainless steel, a corrosion-resistant alloy, is versatile in construction, culinary applications, and various industries, exhibiting strength and durability. Both share high melting points and corrosion resistance yet differ in composition, hardness, and density. Tungsten emerges as the harder, denser material, surpassing steel in rigidity. Despite their differences, each material serves distinct purposes.

FAQ: Tungsten and Stainless Steel

1. Is tungsten stronger than steel?

When comparing steel and tungsten, steel has three times less rigidity than tungsten. This rigidity makes tungsten stronger than both steel and titanium.

2.  Is tungsten bulletproof?

Tungsten can stop bullets if it’s thick enough due to its density and hardness. However, its brittleness makes it less than ideal for this purpose, as it may shatter upon impact, posing risks of fragmentation.

3. Does tungsten steel rust?

Tungsten steel does not rust under normal conditions. Unlike iron-based alloys, tungsten steel is highly resistant to corrosion due to the formation of a passive oxide layer on its surface. This layer acts as a protective barrier, preventing further oxidation and rusting. However, extreme temperatures above 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit can compromise this protective layer, potentially leading to oxidation and tarnishing of the tungsten steel.

4. How long does tungsten last?

The lifespan of a tungsten ring can vary depending on factors such as the wearer’s lifestyle and how well the ring is maintained. On average, tungsten rings can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years before needing maintenance. However, with proper care and maintenance, including avoiding exposure to harsh chemicals and abrasive surfaces, a tungsten ring can potentially last a lifetime.


1. “Tungsten.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation.
2. “Stainless Steel.” Encyclopedia Britannica.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Wolfram evaporated crystals and 1cm3 cube” By Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work (FAL) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Sink and taps in the men’s locker room 3 BW” By W.carter – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasini A

Hasini is a graduate of Applied Science with a strong background in forestry, environmental science, chemistry, and management science. She is an amateur photographer with a keen interest in exploring the wonders of nature and science.

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