Tungsten is a rare metal found naturally on Earth almost exclusively combined with other elements in chemical compounds rather than alone. It was identified as a new element in 1781 and first isolated as a metal in 1783. Its important ores include wolframite and scheelite.
Nigeria is one of African countries richly blessed with abundance of Tungsten deposits in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Plateau, and Niger states.
What is the main use of tungsten? Tungsten has the highest melting point of all metals and is alloyed with other metals to strengthen them. Tungsten and its alloys are used in many high-temperature applications, such as arc-welding electrodes and heating elements in high-temperature furnaces. It has the highest melting point of any metal. Tungsten is used as electrodes, heating elements and field emitters, and as filaments in light bulbs and cathode ray tubes. Tungsten is commonly used in heavy metal alloys such as high speed steel, from which cutting tools are manufactured. It is also used in the so-called ‘superalloys’ to form wear-resistant coatings.
Tungsten is one of the rare metals in nature; it does occur in nature only in association with many (more than 20) minerals but occur in scheelite and wolframite in high deposits, wolframite being the chief ore of tungsten formed the basis for the chemical symbol W for tungsten as a chemical element.
Is Tungsten harmful to humans? Animal research suggests that long-term exposure can be carcinogenic but more research is needed to determine whether this is relevant to humans. The long-term exposure risk of embedded shrapnel containing tungsten is a cause for concern. There is some evidence that some forms of tungsten may be more toxic than others.