Periodic Table -> Tungsten
Tungsten DetailsTungsten Symbol:
WTungsten Atomic Number:
74Tungsten Atomic Weight:
183.85What is Tungsten?
(atomic number 74, symbol W) is a metal and chemical element that was discovered in 1781 by the Swedish mineralogist and chemist Torbern Bergman. It was in 1783 when the element was isolated for the first time. Fausto Elhuyar and Juan Jose Elhuyar isolated tungsten from wolframite.
Properties and Radioisotopes
Tungsten has a high melting point and is silvery-white in color. This is a lustrous metal with high density and robustness. It resists attack by alkalis, acids, and oxygen and reacts with alkaline solutions. The element has a low vapor pressure, high melting point of 6170 F (3410 C), and is grayish in powder form. It has good corrosion resistance and is ductile. Tungsten has 30 synthetically made radioisotopes, and W-187, W-178, W-188, W-185, and W-181 are the most stable ones. The element has a body-centered cubic structure and reacts with alkali metals. It is solid at room temperature and has paramagnetic properties.
Occurrence, Minerals, and Major Producers
Tungsten occurs in different minerals, including hubnerite, ferberite, scheelite, and wolframite. There are several tungsten-containing minerals such as russellite, billwiseite, and ferberite. Billwiseite, for example, is found in the Himalayas and contains rare elements such as tungsten, tantalum, niobium, and antimony. Stolzite is found in the Czech Republic and occurs together with minerals such as mimetite, pyromorphite, and anglesite. The major producers of tungsten are Canada, Bolivia, and Austria. Other producers include Russia, Portugal, and China, with annual world production totaling around 61,000 tonnes.
This metal has a number of chemical and commercial applications. It is used to produce fluorescent lights, ceramic glazes, tail ballast and ballast keels, counterweights, and X-ray tubes. Its compounds are used to make turning and mining tools, circular saws, drills, knives, and other tools and equipment for the construction, mining, woodworking, and other industries. The metal is also used to make jewelry and ornaments. Alloys are widely used, especially in the aerospace and automobile industries. Missiles and components for spacecraft and furnaces are also produced using tungsten. Heavy alloys are made by combining tungsten with elements such as cobalt, iron, nickel, and others. The metal is alloyed with steel to manufacture nozzles and cutting tools. Alloys are used in the military industry to make missiles and grenades. One of its compounds, tungsten carbide is used in mining equipment, cutting tools, and drill bits. Tungsten compounds that contain magnesium and calcium are used to manufacture fluorescent light bulbs.
Environmental and Health Hazards
Tungsten poses no environmental hazards and no chronic health effects have been reported. Side effects include skin and eye irritations, itching, scaling, and reddening, and irritation of the mucus membrane and lungs. It is important to get familiar with safe handling and hygiene practices. Tungsten compounds have a high toxicity. The element forms different compounds, including selenides, sulfides, oxides, and iodides. Other compounds include bromides and chlorides such as tungsten trichloride, ditungsten decachloride, and tungsten hexachloride. The element also forms carbonyls and tellurides.
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