Tungsten is a steel metal that is found naturally on the earth. It has the chemical symbol of W. which comes from its alternate name, wolfram. It was identified in 1781, and just 2 years later it was first isolated. It is sought after due to having the highest melting point of all non-alloyed substances on earth. It is primarily used to make tungsten carbine. Tungsten carbine makes other metals harder and more wear resistant. Tungsten carbine is used to make drill bits for the mining and construction industry. It is also used in electrical item such as light bulb filaments due to its high melting point and ability to conduct electricity.
The Discovery of Tungsten
Tungsten was discovered in 1783 by two Spanish brothers while they were analyzing samples of the mineral wolframite to extract tungstic acid. Juan José and Fausto Elhuyar were chemists who were continuing the work of Carl Wilhelm Scheele who discovered that a new acid, tungstic acid, could be made from scheelite. Juan José and Fausto Elhuyar found that they could create the same acid from wolframite and seceded in isolating the tungsten from the wolframite by reducing the acid with charcoal. Fausto Elhuyar published many articles on how to extract and refine a number of minerals and was well known as an expert on this topic in Europe. Tungsten is still obtained from wolframite and scheelite in much the same way as it was when it was discovered. Tungsten ores are crushed, cleaned and treated with alkalis to form tungsten. This is then heated with carbon or hydrogen gas (H2), forming tungsten metal and carbon dioxide (CO2) or tungsten metal and water vapour (H2O).