TUNGSTEN





Tungsten 3397
Photo by: www.fzd.it

Tungsten

Overview

Tungsten is a transition metal. The transition metals are a group of elements found in the middle of the periodic table. They occupy the boxes in Rows 4 through 7 between Groups 2 and 13. The periodic table is a chart that shows how chemical elements are related to one another.

These metals have very similar physical and chemical properties. One of tungsten's unusual properties is its very high melting point of 3,410°C (6,170°F). This is the highest melting point of any metal. Another of its important properties is its ability to retain its strength at very high temperatures. These properties account for tungsten's primary application, the manufacture of alloys. An alloy is made by melting and mixing two or more metals. The mixture has properties different from those of the individual metals.

SYMBOL
W

ATOMIC NUMBER
74

ATOMIC MASS
183.85

FAMILY
Group 6 (VIB)
Transition metal

PRONUNCIATION
TUNG-stun

Credit for the discovery of tungsten is often divided among three men—Spanish scientists Don Fausto D'Elhuyard (1755-1833) and his brother Don Juan Jose D'Elhuyard (1754-96), and Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-86). Tungsten's chemical symbol, W, is taken from an alternative name for the element, wolfram.

Discovery and naming

The first mention of tungsten and its compounds can be traced to about 1761. German chemist Johann Gottlob Lehmann (1719-67) was studying a mineral known as wolframite. He found two new substances in the mineral but did not recognize that they were new elements.

About twenty years later, Scheele also studied this mineral. He produced from it a white acidic powder. Scheele knew the powder was a new substance. But he could not isolate a pure element from it. Scheele's discovery was actually tungstic acid (H 2 WO 4 ). (See sidebar on Scheele in the chlorine entry in Volume 1.)

Tungsten metal was prepared for the first time in 1783 by the D'Elhuyard brothers. In 1777, they were sent to Sweden to study mineralogy. After their return to Spain, the brothers worked together on a number of projects. One project involved an analysis of wolframite. They produced tungstic acid like Scheele but went one step further. They found a way to obtain pure tungsten metal from the acid. For this work, they are generally given credit as the discoverers of tungsten.

The name tungsten is taken from the Swedish phrase that means "heavy stone." In some parts of the world, the element is still called by another name, wolfram. This name comes from the German expression Wolf rahm, or "wolf froth (foam)." The element's chemical symbol is taken from the German name rather than the Swedish name.

Physical properties

Tungsten is a hard brittle solid whose color ranges from steel-gray to nearly white. Its melting point is the highest of any metal, 3,410°C (6,170°F) and its boiling point is about 5,900°C (10,600°F). Its density is about 19.3 grams per cubic centimeter. Tungsten conducts electrical current very well.

Chemical properties

Tungsten is a relatively inactive metal. It does not combine with oxygen at room temperatures. It does corrode (rust) at temperatures above 400°C (700°F. It does not react very readily with acids, although it does dissolve in nitric acid or aqua regia. Aqua regia is a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric

Tungsten samples.
Tungsten samples.
acids. It often reacts with materials that do not react with either acid separately.

Occurrence in nature

Tungsten never occurs as a free element in nature. Its most common ores are the minerals scheelite, or calcium tungstate (CaWO 4 ) and wolframite, or iron manganese tungstate (Fe,MnWO 4 ). The abundance of tungsten in the Earth's crust is thought to be about 1.5 parts per million. It is one of the more rare elements.

The largest producers of tungsten in the world are China, Russia, and Portugal. No tungsten was mined in the United States in 1996. Detailed information about the production and use of tungsten in the United States is not available. This information is withheld from the public to protect the companies that produce and use tungsten.

In some parts or the world, tungsten is still called by another name, wolfram. This name comes from the German expression Wolf rahm, or "wolf froth (foam)."

Isotopes

Five naturally occurring isotopes of tungsten exist. They are tungsten-180, tungsten-182, tungsten-183, ungsten-184, and tungsten-186. Isotopes are two or more forms of an element. Isotopes differ from each other according to their mass number. The number written to the right of the element's name is the mass number. The mass number represents the number of protons plus neutrons in the nucleus of an atom of the element. The number of protons determines the element, but the number of neutrons in the atom of any one element can vary. Each variation is an isotope.

About a dozen radioactive isotopes of tungsten are known also. A radioactive isotope is one that breaks apart and gives off some form of radiation. Radioactive isotopes are produced when very small particles are fired at atoms. These particles stick in the atoms and make them radioactive.

None of the radioactive isotopes of tungsten has any important commercial use.

Extraction

Tungsten metal can be obtained by heating tungsten oxide (WO 3 ) with aluminum:

It also results from passing hydrogen gas over hot tungstic acid (H 2 WO 4 ):

Uses

By far the most important use of tungsten is in making alloys. Tungsten is used to increase the hardness, strength, elasticity (flexibility), and tensile strength (ability to stretch) of steels. The metal is usually prepared in one of two forms. Ferrotungsten is an alloy of iron and tungsten. It usually contains about 70 to 80 percent tungsten. Ferrotungsten is mixed with other metals and alloys (usually steel) to make specialized alloys. Tungsten is also produced in powdered form. It can then be added to other metals to make alloys.

About 90 percent of all tungsten alloys are used in mining, construction, and electrical and metalworking machinery.

About 90 percent of all tungsten alloys are used in mining, construction, and electrical and metal-working machinery. These alloys are used to make high-speed tools; heating elements in furnaces; parts for aircraft and spacecraft; equipment used in radio, television, and radar; rock drills; metal-cutting tools; and similar equipment.

Tungsten alloys are used in radar equipment. Here, Doppler radar measures the speed and direction of local winds.
Tungsten alloys are used in radar equipment. Here, Doppler radar measures the speed and direction of local winds.

A small, but very important, amount of tungsten is used to make incandescent lights. The very thin metal wire that makes up the filament in these lights is made of tungsten. An electric current passes through the wire, causing it to get hot and give off light. It does not melt because of the high melting point of tungsten.

Compounds

Probably the most important compound of tungsten is tungsten carbide (WC). Tungsten carbide has a very high melting point of 2,780°C (5,000°F). It is the strongest structural material. It is used to make parts for electrical circuits, cutting tools, cermets, and cemented carbide. A cermet is a material made of a ceramic and a metal. A ceramic is a clay-like material. Cermets are used where very high temperatures occur for long periods of time. For example, the parts of a rocket motor or a jet engine may be made from a cermet.

A cemented carbide is made by bonding tungsten carbide to another metal. The product is very strong and remains strong at high temperatures. Cemented carbides are used for rock and metal cutting. They can operate at 100 times the speed of similar tools made of steel.

Health effects

Tungsten has no essential role in the health of plants, humans, or animals. In moderate amounts, it also presents virtually no health danger.



User Contributions:

Allison
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May 20, 2006 @ 12:12 pm
Thank you very much for this information. I needed it for my Science Project. Thank you! I never knew that the element Tungsten could be so interesting!! Thanks!
sam
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Jul 17, 2006 @ 8:20 pm
i also needed this for my science project and its so good i only needed to look up more info on the scientists and i was done!thanks so muchh!
Nashelle
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Sep 24, 2007 @ 11:23 pm
Thanks a bunch! I too needed it for my chemistry project! :)
Izzy
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Dec 17, 2007 @ 8:20 pm
Thanks for all the help. This website was a big help for my chemistry project.
xoxo Izzy
Carolann
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Feb 25, 2008 @ 9:09 am
THANKS THIS HELPED LIKE SOOOOOOO MUCH. thanks thanks thanks!
Jaecey
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Mar 14, 2008 @ 5:17 pm
Thanks... like everyone else it helped a great deal on my chem project...just a little more info and i'll be halfway done...oh yeah!!
Amber! :)
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May 11, 2008 @ 5:17 pm
Thank youuuuuu :) :)
this helped alot alot
gracias :)
teenowy
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May 20, 2008 @ 7:07 am
Thanks for my projectttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt
Seamus
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Sep 10, 2008 @ 10:10 am
Big help! Better than wikipedia. I needed it for a chemistry homework and it provided.
Jen
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Jul 2, 2009 @ 4:16 pm
Very clear and explanatory, thanks a lot! I agree with the previous post-much better than wiki.
firesoul453
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Oct 1, 2009 @ 12:12 pm
Just aweomse it literally told me everyhing I needed to know in almost the right order. (chemistry homework I needed Discovery Chemical prop, etc. BIG HELP!
Christine
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Nov 11, 2009 @ 2:14 pm
Thanks so much! this information really helped ;) ]
thanksthanks(:
JC
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Jan 25, 2010 @ 10:10 am
Thank you for the information. This is a great website. It looks like I am the only one here who Isn't work on a project for school. I am an old man researching to see just what the woodworking tool catalogues mean when they proudly proclaim "carbide tipped". This was very helpful.
Andi
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Feb 10, 2010 @ 3:15 pm
Thank you for this information!! i really needed it!! and it was very helpful.
I also am working on a project for school, and I chose Tungsten/Wolfram because I didn't know much about it, and therewas 2 names for it!! Thank you very much, and i will tell all my other friends working on a project about this website!!
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Feb 22, 2010 @ 2:02 am
hi.please send me about tungsten crystallery and growing it and module elasticite.thank you
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Feb 22, 2010 @ 7:19 pm
Thank you so much!!! This... like everybody else... helped me with my science project!!! now i don't need to get anymore info!!! thanks a million!
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Apr 1, 2010 @ 4:04 am
My tungsten filament collection isn't dissolving in Aqua-reg very quickly
it is good metal:)
Armature metal head, not researching for school, just doing it for the pure pleasure of dissolving the insoluble!
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Jul 12, 2010 @ 9:21 pm
is there any reach between tungsten with hydrogen gas at 500C,100MPa??
Damian
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Nov 28, 2010 @ 5:17 pm
thanks, sooo helpful. I needed all this info, and it ended up on 1 page!
Karl
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Nov 28, 2010 @ 6:18 pm
Thank you so much for putting this information up on your site.
Really helped me with my science project for school.
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Nov 30, 2010 @ 3:15 pm
Whoever wrote this did a very good job in helping with projects. This answered every single question I answered. It was very good. One suggestion would be to go a little bit more in detail about the role of tungsten in light bulbs, but other than that, this is a great article. Good job!
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Dec 3, 2010 @ 8:08 am
Can you but tungsten?? If so how much per pound? Its a question on my project.
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Dec 6, 2010 @ 8:20 pm
thanks this helped alot this was for my chemistry powerpoint for tungsten and krypton
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Mar 5, 2011 @ 1:13 pm
thx sooo much this will seriously help me fo my sci project
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Mar 19, 2011 @ 4:16 pm
Thanks alot! This helped me in my project for school~!
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May 8, 2011 @ 5:17 pm
does anybody know the texture of tungsten? i need it for a science project and i can't find it ANYWHERE
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Jul 5, 2011 @ 3:03 am
thanks for the help!!! this website was so useful for my chemistry project!
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Nov 24, 2011 @ 2:14 pm
This information just saved my life...the science project that would have took me 3 days to finish, might only take me 1...Thanks a lot
jeffrey
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Nov 27, 2011 @ 8:20 pm
hahaha my science project is due tomorrow and this page has just about everything i need, thanks!
rachel
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Feb 5, 2012 @ 5:17 pm
Thanks for the info!! Like all the other comments... it helped SO much on my chem project!!! thanks again :)
Shelby
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Mar 25, 2012 @ 7:19 pm
So, If I was to buy a ring for my boyfriend made of Tungsten, then it wouldn't rust if he showered with it on and such? Like, he wouldn't ever have to take it off?
Jeff Berg
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Apr 19, 2012 @ 8:20 pm
I have a science project too! I am trying to remove inclusions of Mo metal in W metal. There is a visible silver Mo pieces in the W block surface. Would concentrated sulfuric acid selectively dissolve the Mo with minimum loss of W? I thought about doing an electrochemical dissolution of the Mo, but the electochemical potentials are too close, and would end up dissolving both W and Mo. Thank you for any help or information that you can provide.
Jeff Berg
Idaho Falls, ID
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Apr 26, 2012 @ 7:07 am
Thank u very much 4 the lesson about tungsten u know i have been using it 4 welding tig (tig welding ) this joe from kenya.
Ketan
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Jun 14, 2012 @ 6:06 am
Hi, I have an alloy consisting 60% Tungsten & 40% Silver. What is the best way to seperate them ?
Kindly reply asap. Thanks
Dave
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Jul 2, 2012 @ 9:09 am
If you dissolve the alloy in aqua regia (mixture Hydrochloric and nitric acid), then you will get silver chloride and tungsten hexachloride. As it happens, silver chloride is insoluble, and can easily be filtered out and collected. On exposure to light, the dry silver chloride will decompose to silver and chlorine (do this outside) . You will then have pure silver metal. For the tungsten, you can boil off the solution to obtain the tungsten hexachloride salt. If dissolved in water, you can then add aluminum foil to precipitate out the tungsten.
Kat
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Oct 27, 2012 @ 1:01 am
This was soo helpful for my science assignment. I looked over so many sites and yet this one was best, plus I never knew an element could be so interesting! Thank you soo much!!
David
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Nov 15, 2012 @ 6:18 pm
Thanks for the great article! I'm wondering why tungsten used in rings isn't mentioned? A friend of mine recently got married and showed me his wedding band which was made of tungsten, and it looked phenomenal. I had never heard of tungsten prior to that point, but all of its qualities make it such an ideal metal for men's rings. A great article going into more detail can be found at tungstenworld.com
Davis Matthew
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Dec 5, 2012 @ 10:10 am
Thanks! Can you make it a dot org/edu though? :P Im just kidding, I just wished I could have cited it and used it. Oh well! Thanks
I need Help
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Jan 10, 2013 @ 1:01 am
I need to find the streak. I cant find it anywhere and its for my project also. /:
micky
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Jan 22, 2013 @ 11:11 am
It really was helpful, thank you! :D I just realized how cool tungsten is
Jordan Moore
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Feb 12, 2013 @ 4:04 am
tungstons my faviorute scinece guy , well ge rite ? anyone want my pics of ryan ?!?
but back to tungstone _ he's a hell of a guy
Spencer
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May 1, 2013 @ 10:22 pm
I liked the article as well; it was quite informative. I just wanted to learn more about tungsten I find it fascinating.
Bad ass
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May 15, 2013 @ 1:01 am
(v)`-`(v)thanks a bunch this helped get me through half my science project thnx
:)
Albert Moore
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Aug 12, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
When welding with GTAW, does Nitrogen additions to Argon gas combine with the hot tungsten electrode, i.e., will Nitrogen contaminate the electrode while welding?
non yu
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Sep 27, 2013 @ 11:11 am
thank for the info. Help me alot with my project.:)
Dennis
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Oct 17, 2013 @ 11:11 am
General information: A new breed of material made from cubic born nitrate and binders (ceramic) can cut tungsten carbide if required.It will replace tungsten carbide and will also be part of new wafer production in the future (IMO). The addition of difficult machining alloys require a harder cutting tool, maintaining stability when being exposed to faster feed and speed rates.

The future is past tungsten in the cutting tool spectrum.
raihan
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Nov 6, 2013 @ 7:07 am
thanks for giving this is very good for childrens who are studying
unknown
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Nov 23, 2013 @ 9:21 pm
it is good but i think it should go more into isotopes and not just explaining what it is and also more physical and chemical properties.
Yaphet
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Apr 27, 2014 @ 6:18 pm
Thanks! I really needed info on this element and this was the right site! Thank you very much
Shaza
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Aug 15, 2014 @ 6:18 pm
I really like how this website gives info about literally, EVERYTHING. I know everyone says this, but Thanks SO much. Science assignment aced! Thanks again!
Yours perky,
Shaza
John
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Aug 26, 2014 @ 12:12 pm
THANK YOU! this website has helped me with my research on this element. I didn't find everything i was looking for but this website is awesome. If you are reading this to see if the site is a legit source, it is i recommend this website
teresa
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Sep 22, 2014 @ 12:12 pm
i think this helped i just need one more interesting fact. :)
n/a
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Oct 23, 2014 @ 4:16 pm
I had a science project and i did it in a few hours instead of a day
Juliette
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Dec 12, 2014 @ 1:13 pm
Thanks so much that is so helpful!I'm doing a science project on the element Tungsten!
Yogesh
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Dec 16, 2014 @ 10:10 am
Thanks for the information. I have a powder in the combination of Iron molybdenum and tungsten. Please let me know through which process we can separate them

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