Rhodium Facts

Rhodium Facts
Rhodium (Rh) has an atomic number of forty-five. This member of the platinum metals group is a silvery, white element with a lower density but higher melting point than platinum, platinum.
Interesting Rhodium Facts:
Rhodium was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston.
He was experimenting with South American platinum ores, and had already discovered palladium in the same way.
Red rhodium salts were a byproduct of his experiment with the ore, and from those salts Wollaston extracted the rhodium metal.
Rhodium has a considerably high reflectance.
It does not usually form an oxide.
Unlike all of the other group 9 elements, rhodium only has one electron in its outer shell.
There is only one stable isotope of natural rhodium, Rh-103.
There are twenty-five radioactive isotopes of rhodium, with eighteen of those having half-lives of less than one hour.
At only .00002 parts per million in the Earth's crust, rhodium is one of the rarest elements.
This scarcity inflates its price, and so it has very little commercial or industrial uses.
Rhodium is very difficult to extract from the ores that contain it.
Like ruthium, rhodium is a waste product of nuclear fission from Ur-235.
While nuclear waste could be a source of rhodium, it is still difficult and expensive to remove from the nuclear rods.
The unstable nature of the radioactive isotopes also makes it an unappealing, prohibitively expensive source of rhodium.
The major commercial use of rhodium is in automobile catalytic converters.
87.2% of the rhodium produced goes into catalytic converters.
This application reduces harmful emissions from cars by converting carbon monoxide and other gases into less poisonous gases.
Rhodium flashing is the process of electroplating white gold or platinum with a reflective coating.
This process is used in jewelry making, as well as the rhodium process of coating silver to prevent tarnishing during wear.

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