What is the cleavage and fracture of tungsten?


Quick Answer

Tungsten in its pure elemental form has neither cleavage nor fracture, since both are physical properties characteristic of minerals, which are compounds of more than one element. The element tungsten is extracted from the ore minerals scheelite (calcium tungstate) and wolframite (iron-manganese tungstate).

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Full Answer

According to Webmineral.com, scheelite has uneven fracture and distinct cleavage. According to Minerals.net, Wolframite has uneven fracture and perfect cleavage in one direction. Minerals are identified by several physical characteristics. In addition to the properties of cleavage and fracture, common characteristics include hardness, luster, streak, color and crystal structure.

A mineral's cleavage refers to how the mineral splits apart when stress is applied. Cleavage can occur on one or more sides of the mineral. A mineral is said to have perfect cleavage when it breaks apart leaving no rough surfaces. Not all minerals exhibit cleavage.

The fracture property of a mineral describes how a mineral breaks when it is chipped away contrary to its natural cleavage planes. All minerals fracture.

Tungsten is a gray-white metallic element with a very high melting point, which is why the element is used to make the filaments in light bulbs. Other uses for tungsten include metalworking, making heat and radiation shielding and mixing with carbon to create a carbide used in drilling equipment.

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