Tungsten: the essentials

Pure tungsten is a steel-gray to tin-white metal. Tungsten has the highest melting point and lowest vapour pressure of all metals, and at temperatures over 1650°C has the highest tensile strength. The metal oxidises in air and must be protected at elevated temperatures. It has excellent corrosion resistance and is attacked only slightly by most mineral acids.

Table: basic information about and classifications of tungsten.

tungsten wire
Small and large samples of tungsten wire like this, as well as foil, sheet, wire straight cut lengths, insulated wire, and mesh (and tungsten alloys in wire form), can be purchased from Advent Research Materials via their web catalogue.

Tungsten: historical information

Tungsten was discovered by Fausto and Juan Jose de Elhuyar at 1783 in Spain. Origin of name: from the Swedish words "tung sten" meaning "heavy stone" (the origin of the symbol W is "wolfram ", named after the tungsten mineral wolframite).

Tungsten used to be known as wolfram (from wolframite, said to be named from wolf rahm or spumi lupi, because the ore interfered with the smelting of tin and was supposed to devour the tin). The de Elhuyar brothers found an acid in wolframite in 1783 that they succeeded in reducing to the elemental metal with charcoal.

Tungsten: physical properties

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Tungsten: orbital properties

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Isolation: coming soon!

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tungsten atomic number