Effect of other metals on the dissolution of tungsten
Adebayo Ogundipe, Washington Braida, Christos Christodoulatos, Agamemnon Koutsospyros and G. O’Connor

Tungsten composites, often called tungsten heavy alloys, are used in various applications ranging from aviation systems to leisure-time and sports equipment. They are also used in the manufacturing of small- and medium-caliber ammunition and kinetic energy penetrators as possible environmentally benign alternatives to lead and depleted uranium. However, this premise has not been fully investigated. Tungsten has recently become the subject of increased scientific investigation, though very little has been reported on the environmental impact or toxicity of tungsten. To avoid potential negative environmental consequences from the use of new tungsten-based munitions and products in general, it is necessary to investigate how these materials behave upon release to the environment. This research effort aims to further elucidate the processes and mechanisms involved in the release of dissolved tungsten species into the environment. The chemical behaviors of binary mixtures of metallic tungsten with Co, Cu, Ni, and Fe under controlled environmental conditions were studied. Formation of soluble cationic and anionic metal-containing species was accompanied by changes in monitored environmental parameters. The release of dissolved tungsten appears to be the combined effect of anodic dissolution and hydroxyl generation depending upon the metals present in the system. Modeling limitations are discussed. The information gathered sheds light on the fate of tungsten composites in the environment and can be used to proactively improve the environmental performance of munitions and minimize potential adverse environmental impacts. 

Key words: corrosion, dissolution, tungsten alloys 

Land Contamination & Reclamation, 17 (1), 101-110 (2009) 

DOI 10.2462/09670513.938

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Article code 938