What is the Element Ruthenium?
I was looking at the periodic table of elements today, and I was astounded by the names of some of the elements. I was also shocked that I have never heard of some of them, except in brief passing in school. I decided to find out a little bit more about these mystery elements, and I started with Ruthenium. Ruthenium sounds funny at first, but it is used in many things around the world.
Ruthenium is a white metal that is hard and polyvalent. Ruthenium is part of the platinum family. This metal has four crystal modifications, and at normal temperatures it will not tarnish. Although Ruthenium does not tarnish it does oxidize. Ruthenium will melt if put into fused alkalis, and Ruthenium is not affected by acids but is strongly affected by high temperature halogens.
Some jewelers and metal workers use ruthenium to increase the hardness of platinum, and it also has a hardening affect when added to palladium. Titanium can also be mixed with a tiny amount of ruthenium to prevent corrosion and tarnish. Sometimes ruthenium is even mixed with gold to increase its wear resistance.
Karl Klaus, the Russian scientist, isolated and discover ruthenium in 1844. This element derived its name from Ruthenia which is a Latin word for Rus' which was an area of land that is now made up of parts of Russia, the Ukraine, and Belarus. Karl Klaus chose this name because it referred to where he was born.
Ruthenium is used for many things. Ruthenium is mixed to create super alloys used for the blades of jet engines. Ruthenium can also be used as a catalyst in order to split hydrogen sulfide; this can be useful in order to remove the hydrogen sulfide from oil refineries. Ruthenium also has renewable energy implications because it absorbs light; there is research currently establishing if Ruthenium can be used to catch solar energy. The smallest amounts of this element are also being used by IBM to increase disk drive sizes. Ruthenium is being used in things as large as jet engines and as small as fountain pens.
Ruthenium can be found in mines in both South and North America. This element is usually found in ore that also containes other members of the platinum family. Ruthenium can also be found in the Urul Mountains in Russia, and it is also known to be found in smaller extractable contents in Canada and South Africa.
Ruthenium is a very important mineral that may be an important tool in helping the environment and the world.