We’re continuing our look at the Transition Metal series by looking at Cadmium, Hafnium, Tantalum, Tungsten, Rhenium and Osmium.
Cadmium is commonly used to make electric batteries, especially rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries. The aircraft industry uses cadmium electroplating to reduce corrosion on the components made of steel.
Hafnium is used in iron, titanium, tantalum and other alloys. An alloy containing 89% niobium, 10% hafnium and 1% titanium – known as C103 – was used for the rocket thrusters in the main engine of the Apollo Lunar Modules.
Tantalum is also used in electronic components, cell phones, cameras, and laptops.
Tungsten was named after the Swedish name for tungstate, meaning heavy stone. Its alloys are used in light bulbs and X-ray tubes. The early recorded use of tungsten steel was in 1886 to make permanent magnets.
Discovered in 1908, the heavy transition metal Rhenium was named after the Rhine River. It is a high temperature alloy used in jet engines. As a catalyst with platinum, it is used to make high octane gasoline.
Last but not least, Osmium is found as a trace element in platinum ores. An alloy with platinum is used to make electrical contacts. It is very rarely used in its pure state because of its volatility.
Osmium tetroxide is used in fingerprint detection as well.
Stay tuned to Chemistry Matters for a look at the full transition metal series.