Ruthenium (Chemical Elements)
Ruthenium belongs in the platinum group of metals. The elements in this group are named after the best known member of the group, platinum. The group is found in the middle of the periodic table, in Groups 8, 9, and 10, and Rows 5 and 6. The periodic table is a chart that shows how chemical elements are related to one another. The platinum metals tend to be somewhat rare and valuable. They are also called precious metals. The platinum metals also tend to have bright, shiny surfaces and high melting points, boiling points, and densities.
Credit for the discovery of ruthenium is often given to Polish chemist Jedrzej Sniadecki (1768-1838). Sniadecki announced the discovery of the element in 1808. He suggested the name vestium for the element, after the asteroid Vesta. Other chemists were not able to confirm Sniadecki's work, however. As a result, the element was rediscovered twice more in later years.
The primary uses of ruthenium are in alloys and as catalysts for industrial processes.
(The entire section is 974 words.)
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