Getting tungsten from microwave magnetrons

For anyone who knows about microwave ovens. I read that the magnetron contains tungsten metal. How much of the metal is used?

I am interested in scavenging this out of old microwaves, if it is worth the effort.

What shape and size is this tungsten part? How difficult is it to demolish a magnetron?

It’s a filament, similar to those used in light bulbs and vacuum tubes. Its purpose is to heat a a material to give off electrons. The magnetron tubes themselves are very difficult to get open. You’d do far better breaking open a few light bulbs, quite honestly, although forming the metal into a useful shape is problematic.

Thanks mate. It obviously is not worth the effort. I may have to actually buy the tungsten.

May I ask what you need it for?

He’s obviously building a 1920’s-style Death Ray.

Thin tungsten rods are readily available at a welding supply house. They are used as the elctrode GTAW welding. You can get them in diameters up to 1/4" Note that most contain an alloy element and one of the most common is thorium which is mildly radioactive. It isn’t a real hazard apart from breathing dust while griding the tip. You can get pure tungsten electrodes but they are less commonly used so you may have to order them.


Ssshhhh. Not a word.

Can’t he just melt it down?


I had a piece of tungsten half an inch thick and 4 by 6 inches in area. This damn thing was almost impossible to pick up off a table top. Carrying it gives you the uncanniest feeling that there’s a spring attached to it somewhere, pulling it down. Really a remarkable sensation.

“They found me in a meteor! I need tungsten to live! Tuuungsten!”

It would be very difficult to melt tungsten considering that its melting point is 3,410° Celsius (6,170° F)

Napier mentioned that it has a high density. As a matter of fact its specific gravity is 19.30 which is very close to gold’s density of 19.32. Hey, I wonder if someone tried to gold plate or even put a veneer of gold on top of tungsten, if they could … er never mind. :smiley:

Methinks the standard dental pressure application test, wouldn’t have any problems detecting gold plated tungsten. :smiley:

Random Letters
I was merely thinking in my limited Archimedian mentality.
I failed to think of the more sophisticated analytical test of which you speak. (Yes gold is much more maleable than tungsten isn’t it?)
Incidentally, tungsten was discovered in 1783 and so if it were to be used for “couterfeiting” gold, it would be a fairly recent phenomenon.

Now I’m getting kind of interested in getting a chunk of tungsten myself. That tungsten slab that Napier mentioned (½" by 4" by 6") would have weighed about 8.3 pounds. (If I did my calculations correctly). If nothing else, something like that would make an interesting paperweight. I’m wondering if the cost of something like that would be somewhat prohibitive.

Tungsten sample, 1 kg., cylindrical. $195.00.