Tungsten HISTORY

Tungsten (Swedish, tung sten: heavy stone) was first examined by Peter Woulfe in a mineral now known as wolframite in 1779. In 1781 Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovered the tungstic acid and suggested obtaining a new metal by reducing the tungstic acid. The de Elhuyar brothers independently obtained tungstic acid from wolframite in 1783 identical to the acid by Scheele, and in that year they succeeded in obtaining the element by reduction of this acid with charcoal.

The resistance to high temperatures, as well as the extreme strength of its alloys, made the metal into a very important raw material for the weaponry industry. In World War II, tungsten played an enormous role. Tungsten occurs in wolframite, scheelite, huebnertie, and ferberite. China possesses about 75% of the world’s tungsten resources in Jiangxi province. Remaining important deposits of tungsten occur in California, Colorado, South Korea, Bolivia, Russia, and Portugal. The metal is commercially produced by reducing tungsten oxide with hydrogen or carbon.