Tungsten (W)
Symbol W
Atomic Number 74
Atomic Mass 183.84 amu
Discovered by Fausto and Juan Jose de Elhuyar, 1783

Chemical Properties of Tungsten

Group 6 Melting point 3414°C, 6177°F, 3687 K
Period 6 Boiling point 5555oC,10031oF, 5828 K
Block d Density (g cm−3) 19.3
Atomic number 74 Relative atomic mass 183.84
State at 20°C Solid Key isotopes 182W, 184W, 186W,
Electron configuration [Xe] 4f145d46S2 CAS number 7440-33-7
ChemSpider ID 22403 ChemSpider is a free chemical database

What is Tungsten?

Tungsten, also known as wolfram, along with Cr and Mo, belongs to group 6 of the periodic table.

  • The element has an atomic number of 74 and an atomic mass of 184. Its two main oxidation states are +4 & +6 and five stable isotopes (180W, 182W, 183W, 184W, and 186W), among of which 182 W, 184 W, and 186 W are the most abundant at 26.498%, 30.64%, and 28.426% respectively.
  • Tungsten is similar to Molybdenum chemically and its chemistry is amongst the most complex of the transition elements.
  • Tungsten is a relatively rare element, with a crystal abundance of around 1.0–1.5 mg kg-1, similar to that of its neighboring elements in the periodic table, Molybdenum.
  • Tungsten is a strong lithophile element, although it is a siderophile in iron meteorites and is markedly less chalcophile than Molybdenum.
  • Apart from sulphides, it occurs as the W4+ cation in the rare mineral tungstenite, WS2 (cf. molybdenite, MoS2).
  • Tungsten has essentially anionic geochemistry based on the tungstate WO42- ion, in which the W6+ ion is present in four- or six-fold coordination.

Applications of Tungsten

  • Tungsten is an economically important metal, being widely used in light-bulb filaments, electron and television tubes, abrasives and special alloys such as steel tools.
  • Tungsten carbide is of great importance to metal-works, in the mining and petroleum industries. Contamination from these sources is therefore possible in industrial and urban areas.
  • Evidence for a significant biological role for Tungsten is sparse, in contrast to Molybdenum, which is an essential trace element, although minor concentrations in some plants suggest a specialized function perhaps substituting for Molybdenum when there is a deficiency.
  • There is limited ecotoxicity data available, anything higher than trace amounts of Tungsten in solution is generally considered to be toxic.
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