74. Wolframium (Tungsten) - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

This site comprises 120 pages of text and photos, one for each element, and several pages for access. – For captions or explanatory texts move your mouse over illustrations, links etc.

Wolframium Tungsten
Wolfraam – Wolfram – Tungstène – Wolframio – タングステン – Вольфрам – 鎢
Multilingual dictionary

Wolframium Latin

— Germanic
Wolfraam Afrikaans
Wolfram Danish
Wolfram German
Tungsten English
Wolfram Faroese
Wolfraam Frisian (West)
Volfram, ²Þungsteinn Icelandic
Wolfram Luxembourgish
Wolfraam Dutch
Wolfram Norwegian
Volfram Swedish

— Italic
Tugstén Aragonese
Wolframu Aromanian
Wolframiu Asturian
Tungstè Catalan
Wolframio Spanish
Tungstène French
Tungsten, Volframi Friulian
Volframio Galician
Tungsteno Italian
Tüngstéen Lombard
Tungstèn Occitan
Tungsténio Portuguese
Wolfram, ²Tungsten Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Волфрам [Volfram] Bulgarian
Volfram Bosnian
Вальфрам [val'fram] Belarusian
Wolfram, Težík† Czech
Volfram Croatian
Wòlfram Kashubian
Волфрам [Volfram] Macedonian
Wolfram Polish
Вольфрам [Vol'fram] Russian
Wolfram Slovak
Volfram Slovenian
Волфрам [Volfram] Serbian
Вольфрам [vol'fram] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Volframas Lithuanian
Volframs Latvian
Vuolframs Samogitian

— Celtic
Tungsten Breton
Twngsten Welsh
Tungstan Gaelic (Irish)
Tungstan Gaelic (Scottish)
Tungsten Gaelic (Manx)
Tungsten Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Βολφραμιο [volframio] Greek
Վոլֆրամ [volfram] Armenian
Volfram, ²Wolframi Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Tungsten Kurdish
Вольфрам [vol'fram] Ossetian
Волфрам [Volfram] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
টাংস্টেন [ṭāṁsṭena] Bengali
تنگستن [tngstn] Persian
ટંગ્સ્ટનનો [ṭa'gsṭanano] Gujarati
टंग्स्टन [ṭ'gsṭana] Hindi

Volfram Estonian
Volframi Finnish
Volfrám Hungarian
Вольфрам [Vol'fram] Komi
Вольфрам [Vol'fram] Mari
Волфрам [wolfram] Moksha
Volfram Võro

Volfram Azerbaijani
Вольфрам [Vol'fram] Chuvash
Вольфрам [vol'fram] Kazakh
Вольфрам [Vol'fram] Kyrgyz
Вольфрам [bol'fram] Mongolian
Volfram Turkish
ۋولفرام [wolfram] Uyghur
Volfram Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Wolframioa Basque
ვოლფრამი [volp'rami] Georgian

تنجستين [tunjistīn] Arabic
טונגסטן [tungsten] Hebrew
Tangstinn, ²Tungstenu Maltese

Vû (鎢) Hakka
タングステン [tangusuten] Japanese
텅스텐 [teongseuten] Korean
ทังสเตน (วุลแฟรม) [thangsaten (wulfraem/wunfraem)] Thai
Vonfam Vietnamese
[wu1 / woo1] Chinese

Wolframyo Cebuano
Wolfram Indonesian
Tungsten Māori
Wolfram Malay

Other Asiatic
ടങ്സ്റ്റണ്‍ [ṭaṅsṟṟaṇ] Malayalam
தங்ஸ்தென் [taństeṉ] Tamil

Tungu Lingala
Tangstene Sesotho
Wolframi Swahili

Wolframio Nahuatl

Wolframyu Quechua

Wolframimi Sranan Tongo

Volframo Esperanto

New names
Tungston Atomic Elements
Glowed Dorseyville
memory peg

Very dense, gray metal
melting point 3410 °C; 6170 °F
boiling point 5660 °C; 10220 °F
density 19.3 g/cc; 1204.9 pounds/cubic foot
1783 Juan José and Fausto de Elhuyar y de Zubice
Wolfram: mineral wolframite (Fe,Mn)WO4), from "Wolf Rahm" (German for wolf's foam), because it "eats" tin as a wolf eats sheep;
Tungsten: mineral tungsten (CaWO4), meaning heavy stone (Swedish)

History & Etymology

In 1556, Georgius Agricola (1494-1555) referred to the existence of a mineral lupi spuma (= wolf's foam; in German wolf rahm), today known as wolframite. It was so called due to the apparent tin "eating" during the extraction, like the wolf eats the sheep. In 1761 Johann Gottlieb Lehmann (1719-1767) fused the mineral wolframite [(Fe,Mn)WO4] with sodium nitrate and found the melt to dissolve in water forming a green solution which turned red (due to manganate and permanganate). Adding mineral acid (H2SO4) precipitated a white spongy earth which turned yellow after long standing. In 1779 Peter Woulfe (1727-1803/5) cooked wolframite in the acid of salt (HCl) and upon finding a rich yellow color suggested it might contained something new.

In 1781 Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786) analyzed a white mineral, named tungsten (later named scheelite, CaWO4), and showed that it was a salt of calcium from a new acid, tungstic acid. Torbern Bergman (1735-1784), believing scheelite's high density suggested it contained the heavy earth baryta, was frustrated when he too found it contained the acidic material rather than the alkaline expected for baryta. Later he recognized that tungstenic acid was an oxide of a new element, which was called Lapis ponderosus ("heavy stone"), or in the Swedish translation Tungsten. Somewhat later, Martin Heinrich Klaproth, proposed to call the newly open metal Scheelium in Scheele's honour, but Jöns Jakob Berzelius, who at first supported this name, soon preferred Tungsten.

Two years later, in 1783, two Spanish chemists, Juan José de Elhuyar y de Zubice, a student of Bergman, and his younger brother Fausto de Elhuyar y de Zubice (also Suvisa) (1755-1833) analyzed wolframite and found it contained the same new oxide as tungsten. They then produced the new metal by reducing the acid by strongly heating with powdered charcoal. They named the new metal Wolfram, after the mineral. The notice of their discovery was received at the Academy of Sciences of Toulouse, on 4 March 1784. They claim the name volfram as follows: "We will call this new metal volfram, taking the name from the matter of which it has been extracted…. This name is more suitable than tungust or tungsten which could be used as a tribute to tungstene or heavy stone from which its lime was extracted, because volfram is a mineral which was known long before the heavy stone, at least among the mineralogists, and also because the name volfram is accepted in almost all European languages, including Swedish."

The name Wolfram was originally recommended by IUPAC, but the alternative Tungsten — after the Swedish origin — is used mainly in the English speaking world (in present day Swedish the element is normally named "volfram"!).
But in 2005 IUPAC on behalf of most Spanish chemists, IUPAC members Pilar Goya and Pascual Román brought this issue up for discussion and request the name wolfram be maintained based on the following reasons:

  • the true discoverers were the Delhuyar brothers and they named the element volfram (Note that at that time, the letter "w" did not exist in the Spanish alphabet, but appeared for the first time in 1914 and is now included).
  • Scheele and Bergman were the first to obtain the trioxide from scheelite two years before, but they did not isolate the pure element.
  • The word wolfram, deriving from the German wolf’s rahm, is how wolframite was traditionally known by the saxon miners. The pure element was isolated from wolframite.
  • Since the symbol of the element is W it is logical and self-explanatory that it derives from wolfram and not from tungsten. It usually has been acceptable to use the name proposed by those who isolated the element itself and not compounds containing the element in their formula, as is the case of the trioxide.

Alternative name

In the 19th century a native Czech name was proposed: Tezík, which could be derived from "tezký" = heavy.

Chemistianity 1873
TUNGSTEN (Wolfram), a hardener of Steel,
Is a white metal, very hard and brittle;
At red heat in Air, it forms Tungstic Oxide.
Tungstic Tungstate (Tungsten Pentoxide)
Is a blue substance. "Wootz" or Indian Steel
Contains Tungsten.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 158
Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 241-260.
  • Pilar Goya and Pascual Román, "Wolfram vs. Tungsten". Chemistry International 27, 4 (July-August 2005) (on-line)

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements