Tungsten (W)

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Tungsten 74W183.85

Discovered in 1783 by J.J. and F. Elhuijar at Vergara, Spain.

[Swedish, tung sten = heavy stone; wolfram is named after wolframite]

French: tungstène
German: Wolfram
Italian: wolframio (tungsteno)
Spanish: wolframio

Description: Tungsten is generally obtained as a dull grey powder, which is difficult to melt. The bulk metal is lustrous an silvery-white, and resists attack by oxygen, acids and alkalis. Tungsten is used in alloys, to which it imparts great stength, in light bulb filaments and cutting tools.



Tungsten single crystal properties

State: single crystal
Crystal structure: bcc
Production method: Floating zone
Standard size: diameter 8-12mm
thickness 1-2mm
Orientation: (100), (110) and (111)
Orientation accuracy: <2°, <1°, <0.4° or <0.1°
Polishing: as cut, one or two sides polished
Roughness of surface: <0.03µm
Purity: 99.999%
Typical analysis (ppm): C 3
H < 1
O 9
N < 5
Cu 1.60
Fe 1.80
Ni < 1
Pb 0.30
Si 0.30

Ga, Hf and Ta are below the detection limit

Materials properties

Density: 19.3 g/cm3
Melting point: 3406.85±20 °C / 3680±20 °K
Boiling point: 5656.85 °C / 5930 °K
Molar volume: 9.53 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 174 [300 K] Wm-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 4.59 x 10-6 K-1
Electrical resistivity: 5.65x 10-8 [300 K] Wm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: +4.0 x 10-9(s) kg-1m3
Young's modulus: 411 GPa
Rigidity modulus: 160.6 GPa
Bulk modulus: 311 GPa
Poisson's ratio: 0.28
Radii: W6+ 62; W4+ 68; atomic 137; covalent 130
Electronegativity: 2.36 (Pauling); 1.40 (Allred); 4.40 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 4.35 (Slater); 9.85 (Clementi); 14.22 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 29
Issotope mass range: 160 -> 190
Crystal structure, (cell dimentions / pm), space group bcc
X-ray diffraction: mass absorption coefficients: CuKα 172 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKα 99.1 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.486 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 18.3 sa / barns


Biological data

Biological role: none
Toxic intake: mildly toxic
Lethal intake: LD50 (metal, rat) = 2000 mg kg-1
Hazards: Tungsten dust is a skin and eye irritant and an experimental teratogen.
Level in humans  
Blood: 0.001 mg dm-3
Bone: 0.00025 p.p.m.
Liver: n.a.
Muscle: n.a.
Daily dietary intake: 0.001 - 0.015 mg
Total mass of element in average [70 kg] person: c. 0.02 mg


Geological data

MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Ferberite FeWO4 7.40 4 - 4.5 mon., met. black
Scheelite CaWO4 6.10 4.5 5 tet., vit./adam. colourless
Wolframite (Fe, Mn) WO4 7.3 4 - 4.5 mon., sub-met./adam. greyish-black


Chief ore: scheelite and wolframite
World production: 45 100 tonnes/year
Main mining areas: China, Malaysia, Burma, Bolivia, Canada, Australia, Japan, USA
Reserves: 1.5 x 106 tonnes
Specimen: available as foil, powder, rod or wire. Safe.


Sun: 50 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 1 p.p.m.
Residence time:  
Oxidation state: VI

Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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