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rare metallic element, 1796, from Swedish tungsten "calcium tungstate," coined by its discoverer, Swedish chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786) from tung "heavy" + sten "stone." Used earlier as the name for calcium tungstate (1770). Atomic symbol W is from Latin wolframium, from German Wolfram "iron tungstate" (see wolfram).
tungsten tung·sten (tŭng'stən)
A hard brittle corrosion-resistant metallic element having the highest melting point of any metal and used in high-temperature structural materials and in electrical elements, notably lamp filaments. Atomic number 74; atomic weight 183.85; melting point 3,422°C; boiling point 5,555°C; specific gravity 19.3 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Also called wolfram.
A hard, gray to white metallic element that is very resistant to corrosion. It has the highest melting point of all elements, and it retains its strength at high temperatures. It is used to make light-bulb filaments and to increase the hardness and strength of steel. Atomic number 74; atomic weight 183.84; melting point 3,410°C; boiling point 5,900°C; specific gravity 19.3 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Also called wolfram. See Periodic Table.