We rely a lot on recycled products these days to lessen the possibility of environmental harm. Some metals and alloys, such as tungsten, have properties that allow them to be used in a wide range of contexts. Dense metals like tungsten can be found in anything from everyday home goods to industrial uses. Tungsten has countless applications. Because of its special qualities, tungsten is a rare metal that occurs naturally on Earth and is extremely valuable.

Tungsten, with an atomic number of 74 and an element symbol W, is a hard but brittle transition metal with a silvery-white hue. One of the hardest metals on Earth, it was first found about 250 years ago, although most people only know it from incandescent light bulbs. This metallic element, though it may not be as well-known, is incredibly adaptable and has many different applications. 

The Discovery of Tungsten

It is thought that tungsten was originally used approximately 350 years ago to tint peach Chinese porcelain using a special tungsten pigment. In the meantime, German miners discovered in the 1700s that some ores would cause a frothy gray slag known as “Wolfert” or “Wolfrahm” when they interfered with cassiterite reductions.

The mineral tungsten was discovered in 1758 by a Swedish scientist named A.F. Cronsteat. He named it “heavy stone” in Swedish. A new metal was found in the Swedish mineral by an Irish scientist named Peter Woulfe in 1779, around 20 years later.

Then, in 1781, tungsten was first isolated by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele from a mineral that is today called scheelite. The Spanish brothers Fausto and Juan Jose D’Elhuyar are credited with making the formal discovery of tungsten. In 1783, they extracted tungsten powder from the mineral wolframite by reducing tungsten trioxide with carbon and availing it for industry use.

Different Tungsten Uses

Tungsten may be worked and altered in countless ways since it exists in three distinct forms. Buyers of tungsten carbide powder in 2024 will have a variety of inventive and fascinating uses for the broken-down powder. Here are a few novel Tungsten uses in the modern world:

  • Ice Fishing:

Ice anglers can use considerably smaller lures and still make sensitive touch with their offerings by using tungsten jigs for ice fishing. They can also “pound” the bottom to agitate the silt and attract the attention of the fish. Tungsten facilitates the straightness of fishing lines and enables lures to sink and locate active schools of fish. Tungsten bismuth shots are widely used for hunting game during the waterfowl season.

  • Automobile Brakes:

Tungsten carbide coating has been applied to some rotors to enable the removal of up to 90% of brake dust without sacrificing braking effectiveness. Although this application of tungsten may not be all that uncommon, it is unquestionably significant. Because the enhanced brakes require far less cleaning and offer better and safer performance, tungsten can also benefit drivers whose wheels are frequently unclean.

  • Golf clubs:

The lead powder is 50% less thick than tungsten powder, which makes handling it significantly riskier. By applying this potent powder to your golf club, you can enhance the swing weight and lengthen the distance of your shots. You can also greatly enhance your entire golf game by using tungsten, as it helps you set your center of gravity more accurately during your shot.

  • Multi-purpose use:

Owing to its advantageous qualities, tungsten is widely used in products and appliances worldwide. That elevated melting point we just discussed? When searching for a metal to use in filament lights, it is really helpful. Tungsten wire is commonly used for this purpose. The wire must be able to withstand high temperatures without melting or shattering while the light is in operation.

Tungsten bars and tungsten shots offer a wider range of applications and are used in many different sectors as a component for specialized applications. Depending on how you need it to function, it can be rolled into sheets or changed into wire.

  • Heating uses:

Its ability to withstand heat is advantageous in high-temperature applications like welding, spaceflight uses, and heating elements for electrical furnaces. For this reason, it was also utilized in the creation of various lighting fixtures. A bulb gets brighter the hotter it can go without melting. Tungsten was found by inventor William D. Coolidge to be the perfect filament material in 1908.

However, most lights nowadays are made of more energy-efficient materials. However, it is still used in electrical contacts of different devices and X-ray filaments.

Conclusion

Tungsten is one of the most used refractory metals due to its many special and intriguing features. Tungsten is not a rare earth element, even though it has been placed among elements that garner media attention; however, that is a discussion for another time.

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