Tungsten

Austin Ingles; Block 1

Introduction

Tungsten is a hard brittle solid whose color ranges from steel-gray to nearly white. Its melting point is the highest of any metal, 3,410oC and its boiling point is about 5,900oC. Its density is about 19.3 grams per cubic centimeter. Tungsten conducts electrical current very well. Tungsten is a relatively inactive metal. It does not combine with oxygen at room temperatures. It does rust at temperatures above 400oC. It does not react very readily with acids, but it does dissolve in nitric acid or aqua regia. Aqua regia is a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids. Tungsten never occurs as a free element in nature. Its most common ores are the minerals scheelite, or calcium tungstate and wolframite, or iron manganese tungstate. The most important compound of tungsten is tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide has a very high melting point of 2,780oC. Tungsten metal can be obtained by heating tungsten oxide with aluminum. It also results from passing hydrogen gas over hot tungstic acid. Five naturally occurring isotopes of tungsten exist. They are tungsten-180, tungsten-182, tungsten-183, ungsten-184, and tungsten-186. The most important use of tungsten is in making alloys. About 90 percent of all tungsten alloys are used in mining, construction, and electrical and metalworking machinery. 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.

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Tungsten is a hard brittle solid whose color ranges from steel-gray to nearly white. Tungsten has the highest melting point of any metal at 3,410oC. Tungsten is great for making strong alloys. Tungsten is used to increase the hardness, strength, elasticity, and tensile strength of steels. It does not combine with oxygen at room temperatures. It does rust at temperatures above 400oC. It does not react very readily with acids, but it does dissolve in nitric acid or aqua regia. Aqua regia is a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids.