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The Element Ruthenium

[Click for Isotope Data]





Atomic Number: 44

Atomic Weight: 101.07

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

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

Density: 12.1 grams per cubic centimeter

Phase at Room Temperature: Solid

Element Classification: Metal

Period Number: 5    Group Number: 8    Group Name: none

What's in a name? From the Latin word for the country of Russia, Ruthenia.

Say what? Ruthenium is pronounced as roo-THE-nee-em.

History and Uses:

Ruthenium was discovered by Karl Karlovich Klaus, a Russian chemist, in 1844 while analyzing the residue of a sample of platinum ore obtained from the Ural mountains. Apparently, Jedrzej Sniadecki, a Polish chemist, had produced ruthenium in 1807 but he withdrew his claim of discovery after other scientists failed to replicate his results. Ruthenium tends to occur along with deposits of platinum and is primarily obtained as a byproduct of mining and refining platinum. Ruthenium is also obtained as a byproduct of the nickel mining operation in the Sudbury region of Ontario, Canada.

Ruthenium is primarily used as an alloying agent. Adding 0.1% ruthenium to titanium makes 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.

Estimated Crustal Abundance: 1×10-3 milligrams per kilogram

Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 7×10-7 milligrams per liter

Number of Stable Isotopes: 7   (View all isotope data)

Ionization Energy: 7.361 eV

Oxidation States: +3

Electron Shell Configuration:


2s2   2p6

3s2   3p6   3d10

4s2   4p6   4d7