12 Interesting Facts About Tungsten
Tungsten is a rare metal that was first identified in 1781. This element has the symbol W and an atomic number of 74. One of the most famous facts about Tungsten is that it has the highest boiling point of all chemical elements: 3422 °C, or 6192 °F. Here are some more interesting Tungsten facts:
- Tungsten has many applications, and is used in light bulb filaments, x-ray tubes and electrodes: Tungsten’s properties also make it a useful metal in a military context, and it is often found in projectiles.
- Carl Wilhelm Scheele is credited with being the first chemist to identify Tungsten in 1871: However, it would be two years later before brothers José and Fausto Elhuyar became the first to isolate Tungsten.
- During World War II, Portugal became a focus of both the Allied and Axis powers as a result of its large Tungsten deposits: Prized for its applications in the arms industry, the raw material was in high demand at the time.
- With Tungsten’s incredibly high melting point, it’s practically impossible to produce liquid Tungsten: While you could heat Tungsten to the point it becomes a liquid, you would not be able to store it anywhere, because it would be so hot it would melt whatever container you placed it in!
- In modern times, China has become the world’s largest producer of the metal, with production of 64,000 tonnes in 2012: Other major producers include Russia, Canada and Bolivia.
- Tungsten is also produced in the United States; however, the annual production figures are not released to the general public as they are considered proprietary company information.
- Tungsten found an unusual application in the Mars Science Laboratory space probe that was launched in 2011: Large blocks of the metal were used in the entry vehicle to help shift the centre of mass.
- There’s also an application for Tungsten in music: Cellists will often purchase a C-string made out of Tungsten as the density of the metal provides a better sound.
- Tungsten is even growing in popularity for use in jewellery: With a density similar to that of gold, but a much more durable nature, Tungsten is becoming a popular choice for rings.
- Some counterfeiters have been known to try and coat Tungsten in a thin layer of gold and pass it off as a valuable gold bar: This scam sometimes works because Tungsten has such a similar density to gold.
- In 1928, General Electric attempted to patent Tungsten: This is quite unusual as not many other elements have been the subject of a patent attempt; however, the court rejected the application.
- Tungsten’s English name is derived from the Swedish tung sten, meaning heavy stone: Meanwhile, in Germany and some other European nations it is referred to as Wolfram – which translates as Wolf Cream!
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