• Ian Baker


Tungsten, a lustrous silvery-white metal, is one of the so-called refractory metals that includes tantalum, molybdenum, niobium and rhenium that all melt above 2475 °C – tungsten has the highest melting point amongst metals at 3422 °C. The refractory metals are hard and relatively chemically inert, but unfortunately generally have poor oxidation resistance. Tungsten’s crust abundance is only 0.00011%. Tungsten, was discovered by the Spanish chemist brothers, Fausto de Elhuyar (1755–1833) and Juan José Elhuyar Lubize (1754–1796) in 1783. Apart from in French and English, tungsten is called Wolfram in most European languages, hence its Periodic Table symbol is W. The name comes from “tung sten” the Swedish for “heavy stone”, which arises because it is one of the densest metals at 19,300 kg.m−3. Tungsten is one of only seven elements with densities over 17,000 kg.m−3 and the only element that is of practical use in most density-driven applications.

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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