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Atomic symbol Ru
Atomic number 44
Classification Transition Metals
Atomic mass 101.07 amu
Other Information
Date of discovery 1844
Name of discoverer Karl Klaus (Polish chemist Jędrzej Śniadecki isolated element 44 in 1807. However his work was never verified, and he later withdrew his claim.)
Name origin From Ruthenia, the Latin name of Russia.
Uses Used to harden platinum and palladium. Also used in eye treatments, fountain pen tips, and electrical contacts.
Obtained from Produced as a by-product of nickel refining.

Ruthenium (roo-THE-nee-em) is a shiny, silvery metal.


Jedrzej Sniadecki, a Polish chemist, discovered ruthenium in platinum ores from South America in May 1808, and called it vestium. However, French chemists tried to reproduce his work but were unable to find it in the platinum ore they had. Because of this, Sniadecki thought he must have been mistaken and took back his clam.[1]

Then, Gottfried Osann investigated some platinum from the Ural mountains, and reported finding three new elements which he named pluranium, polinium, and ruthenium in 1825. While the first two of these were never verified, but the third was genuine. In 1840 Karl Karlovich Klaus extracted, purified, and confirmed it was a new metal. He chose to keep Osann’s name for it, ruthenium.[2][3]

Additional Properties

Melting Point: 4233 °F (2334 °C or 2607 K)

Boiling Point: 7502 °F (4150 °C or 4423 K)

Density: 12.1 grams per cubic centimeter[4]

Ruthenium is believed to be carcinogenic (that is, it can cause cancer). Also, Ruthenium tetroxide (RuO4) is very toxic.[5]


Ruthenium is primarily used in making alloys. Adding just 0.1% ruthenium to titanium makes the titanium 100 times more resistant to corrosion. Small amounts of ruthenium are added to platinum and palladium to strengthen them. These alloys are used in jewelry and in electrical contacts that must resist wear. It is also useful as a catalyst is a number of chemical reactions.[6]

See also


External links