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Background Information

The word tungsten means “heavy stone” in Swedish. The chemical symbol for tungsten is W which stands for Wolfram. The name came from medieval German smelters who found that tin ores containing tungsten had a much lower yield. It was said that the tungsten devoured the tin “like a wolf”. Pure tungsten metal was first isolated by two Spanish chemists, the de Elhujar brothers in 1783. Tungsten is a greyish-white lustrous metal, which is a solid at room temperature. Tungsten has the highest melting point and lowest vapor pressure of all metals, and at temperatures over 1650°C has the highest tensile strength. It has excellent corrosion resistance and is attacked only slightly by most mineral acids.

Tungsten Advantages

  • One of the most dense metals, with a density of 19.3 g/cc
  • Highest melting point of all metals at 3410°C
  • Lowest vapor pressure of all metals with 4.27Pa at 3410°C
  • Highest tensile strength of all metals over 1650°C

Tungsten Products

Tungsten Applications

  • useful for glass-to-metal seals since the thermal expansion is about the same as borosilicate glass
  • tungsten and its alloys are used extensively for filaments for electric lamps, electron and television tubes, and for metal evaporation work
  • electrical contact points for engine distributors
  • X-ray targets
  • windings and heating elements for electrical furnaces
  • missile and high-temperature applications
  • tungsten mesh for high-temperature applications
  • high-speed tool steels and many other alloys contain tungsten
  • the carbide is important to the metal-working, mining, and petroleum industries
  • calcium and magnesium tungstates are widely used in fluorescent lighting
  • tungsten salts are used in the chemical and tanning industries
  • tungsten disulfide is a dry, high-temperature lubricant, stable to 500°C
  • tungsten bronzes and other tungsten compounds are used in paints
  • TV tubes (electron tubes)

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Tungsten Resources

Tungsten and Costs

Midwest Tungsten regularly receives requests for more information about tungsten mining, refining, and pricing

How Tungsten Wire is Made

Making tungsten wire is a complex, difficult process.

Tungsten History

Element History - Brief Review

Tungsten Detailed History

Tungsten and Tungsten Wire History

Chemical Resistance of Tungsten

Chemical Resistance of Tungsten

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Tungsten Properties

Atomic Number74
Atomic Weight183.86
Group Number6
Electron Configuration1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 6s2 4f14 5d4
CAS Registry Number7440-33-7
Wire Atomic Volume”9.53
Lattice TypeBody Centered Cube
Lattice Constant at 20C, Angstroms3.1585
Natural Isotopes180, 182, 183, 184, 186
Density at 20C (gm/cc)19.3
Density at 20C (lb./cu. in.)0.697
Melting Point C3410
Boiling Point C5530
Linear Coefficient of Expansion per C
4.3 x 10E-6
Thermal Conductivity at 20 C (cal/cm/C/sec)0.40
Specific Heat @ 20 C (cal/gram/C)0.032
Electronegativity (eV) Pauling2.36
Electronegativity (eV) Sanderson0.98
Electronegativity (eV) Alfred Rochow1.40
Electronegativity Conductivity, % IACS31
Electrical Resistivity @ 20C (microhm-cm)5.5
Electrical Resistivity @ 227C (microhm-cm)10.5
Electrical Resistivity @ 727C (microhm-cm)24.3
Electrical Resistivity @ 1727C (microhm-cm)55.7
Electrical Resistivity @ 2727C (microhm-cm)90.4
Electrical Resistivity @ 3227 (microhm-cm)108.5
Temperature Coefficient of Electrical Resistivity Per C (0-100 C)0.0046
Tensile Strength @ Room Temperature, psi100,000 - 500,000
Tensile Strength @ 500 C, psi75,000 - 200,000
Tensile Strength @ 1000 C, psi50,000 - 75,000
Poisson's Ratio0.284
Hardness (Mineral)7.5
Hardness (Vickers)343
Hardness (Brinell)2570
Total Emissivity @ 1500 C0.23
Total Emissivity @ 2000 C0.28
Working Temperature, C<1700
Recrystallization Temperature, C1300 - 1500

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