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Tungsten (W)

tungsten filament in a light bulb

Switch on a light bulb and it's there for all to see. 

Tungsten has the highest melting point of any metal, and is commonly used to make electric light bulb filaments. It is a very hard, heavy, shiny white metal and, in its purest form, is quite pliable and can be easily processed. It is found in several ores including wolframite and scheelite and is remarkable for its robust physical properties.Since the beginning of the 20th century, tungsten has been used for hardening steel. Tungsten is widely used to reinforce the tips of everything from drills and darts to bullets and shells. The pure form is mainly used in electrical applications but its many compounds and alloys are widely used (most notably in light bulb filaments and in space-age superalloys).

Around 40 Cornish mines have produced tungsten.

Data Panel: Tungsten ore: Wolframite

(Fe,Mn)WO4   Iron manganese tungstate

colour
Grey black to brownish black
hardness
5-5.5
Crystal system
Monoclinic
Crystal habit
Flat tablets forming bladed, sheetlike groups
Lustre
Submetallic
Streak
Brownish black
Fracture
Uneven
Other characteristics
 
 
Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Geevor Archive

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