Tungsten is a metal that has atomic number 74, and it has a silver – white color. Many people recognize this metal because it’s used with a light bulb as a filament. Tungsten has an element symbol W, originating from its old name Wolfram.
The date of discovery
The world found about tungsten in 1783 when the Spanish brothers Juan Jose and Fausto D’Elhuyar isolated this element from wolframite ore and they were responsible for the discovery or this metal. However, in 1781 Carl Wilhelm Scheele made an unknown tungstic acid from a material we now call scheelite.
In the past, people called tungsten Wolfram, originating from German wolf’s rahm, which means wolf’s foam. Later all European countries adopted the name tungsten, which means heavy stone. The name was officially changed in 2005, and the changes were also made in the periodic table. The change of name made one of the biggest disputes among the scientists.
Highest melting point
Tungsten has the highest melting point among the all metals, 6191.6 F or 3422 C, lowest vapor pressure and the greatest strength. The pure metal can be easy to work with; it can be cut, forged or spun, any other impurity makes this meal hard to work.
Resistant to heat and wear
This metal is one of the five refractory metals, besides niobium, tantalum, molybdenum and rhenium. They are located close to each other in the periodic table. Refractory metal means it is highly resistant to heat, wear, and corrosion.
Because of low toxicity, tungsten plays an important biological role in organisms. Some bacteria use tungsten as an enzyme to lower down carboxylic acids to aldehydes. Considering that this metal isn’t toxic, many scientists thinks its use will have a great impact on our future.
Can be an excellent isolation
Tungsten has a high hardness, and it is used as a radioactive isolation. Especially in a hospital, where they need to isolate x – rays and dangerous substance. Tungsten has found its application in nuclear power plants as well. Considering that lead is harmful to human health, tungsten is a great option.
In the recent years, everybody is talking about this metal and how great performances it has. Tungsten has a large application in heavy industry and industry overall. Due to its hardness and resistance to wear, many factories implemented this metal in their production process. But, does tungsten has bad sides we haven’t been aware of so far and what impact it has on our health.
Let’s start with good features
Tungsten managed to fight its place and become of the indiscernible elements in many industries. Having in mind its great performances and features, it should surprise why this metal became so demanded. Tungsten has the highest melting point which makes it perfect to work with when exposed to high temperatures. This meal isn’t toxic, so it is harmless to our environment because it doesn’t pollute the air and water. Due to its hardness, tungsten is a good isolation material, and it can protect people from radiation. When combined with other metals, tungsten gives those materials the necessary hardness. Tungsten is also used in the construction of jewelry and often replaces the gold. This metal has found broad application in aero industry and military because of its hardness.
The bad sides, if we can call them like this
There have been many debates regarding health effects of tungsten. Long industrial experience and many types of research haven’t proven any adverse effects to prolonged exposure to tungsten. However, some side effect may appear, such as irritation on the skin and in contact with eyes, it can cause wateriness and redness. If you are working is some factory which deals with tungsten of regular basis, you just need to wear a protective suit if you are sensitive to this metal. Considering the effect of tungsten on the environment, one study which conducted research on guinea pigs found interesting results. Pigs which we exposed to tungsten powder suffered from anorexia, colic, lack of coordination in movements, trembling and weight loss. Overall, this metal isn’t expected to be dangerous for the environment.
The tungsten carbide is created by combining two metals, carbon and tungsten and it is considered as one of the toughest among all alloys. It is extremely reliable and durable. It shouldn’t surprise you why this mixture found such a broad application. The score tungsten carbide has on the Mohs scale is nine from possible 10. The only thing tougher than tungsten carbide is a diamond. It takes a diamond to cut a diamond, but also, it takes the diamond to cut tungsten carbide. Considering all pieces of information, we have provided you; it is enough to realize the benefits of tungsten carbide.
The primary use
Considering the toughness of tungsten carbide possesses, it makes sense its main use if for cutting. Tungsten carbides are used for serious cutting, which is commonly found in heavy industry, constructions, and mining. Drills made of tungsten carbide tip can perform a great job. Based on some estimates 60% of tools in the mentioned industries is made of tungsten carbide. Once you overcome this primary use, the tungsten carbide becomes widely spread, for example, in a production of razor blades and jewelry. This metal can look very sophisticated and polished, especially if you know how to combine it. In some occasions, it can even replace gold, considering it has similar density.
Tungsten carbide around home
You can find tungsten carbide in some home appliances. For example, without the light, you won’t be able to function, and your home would be a gloomy place. Each light bulb emits a significant amount of light, and without tungsten carbine, they would all burst. Tungsten carbide is also used in ballpoints; it makes sure the ball is aligned with the ink. In this way, tungsten carbide is crucial for everyday life.
We would say that uses of tungsten carbide are evident, it is indispensable for our industry and considering it’s not toxic, many predict that this metal will make even bigger applications in the future.
When tungsten is combined with other metals, we get alloys, highly resistant, heat controlling metals which can be utilized for different purposes. Tungsten is the 4th hardest metal on earth, and it gives stable and vigorous structure to other metals. Alloys have found wide application in many industries, especially because tungsten has the highest melting point and it is resistant to corrosion and acids. Tungsten alloys are mostly used for the following purposes.
Tungsten alloy fishing
They are used as weights to lure or bait and to increase the sinking rate, especially if you are casting from a distance. Depending on your use, they vary in size and shape. In the recent years, they are becoming popular because of the small size and the high density, which allows them to sing fast. They are slowly replacing the lead weights. The interesting thing about heavy tungsten alloys is that they concentrate the weight in the smallest possible space. They are often used for balancing.
Tungsten alloys for medical shielding
Due to their hardness, they are ideal for x rays and gamma rays. The high density of tungsten makes hard for radiation to penetrate and at the same time, it
protects the patients from dangerous radiation. Tungsten alloys are often installed in medical equipment and act as nuclear shielding. For example, PET scans are one of the nuclear medical tools available for diagnosis. Before the doctors proceed with an examination, patients are injected with a glucose-based radionuclide from shielding syringe made of tungsten alloy.
Tungsten copper alloy
When tungsten is mixed with copper, you will get a tungsten copper alloy. The amount of copper may vary, from 10% to 50%. This alloy has an excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, and it resists high temperatures very well. Tungsten copper alloys have a broad application, for example in aero industry, rocket nozzles are made from this mixture, as well as in electro industry.