Simulations, High-Speed Videos Help Researchers See Crack Formation in 3-D-Printed Tungsten in Real Time

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Photo by Sgt. Brendan Custer (Source:
Photo by Sgt. Brendan Custer (Source:

September 1, 2020 | Originally published by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on August 20, 2020

Boasting the highest melting and boiling points of all known elements, tungsten has become a popular choice for applications involving extreme temperatures, including lightbulb filaments, arc welding, radiation shielding, and, more recently, as plasma-facing material in fusion reactors such as the ITER Tokamak.

However, tungsten’s inherent brittleness, and the microcracking that occurs while additively manufacturing (3-D printing) with the rare metal, has hampered its widespread adoption.