|Name, Symbol, Number||Rhodium, Rh, 45|
|Chemical series||Transition metals|
|Group, Period, Block||9, 5 , d|
|Density, Hardness||12450 kg/m3, 6|
|Appearance||Silvery white metallic|
|Atomic weight||102.90550 amu|
|Atomic radius (calc.)||135 (173) pm|
|Covalent radius||135 pm|
|van der Waals radius||no data|
|Electron configuration||[Kr]4d4d8 5s1|
|e- 's per energy level||2, 8, 18, 16, 1|
|Oxidation states (Oxide)||2, 3, 4 (amphoteric)|
|Crystal structure||Face centered cubic|
|State of matter||Solid (__)|
|Melting point||2237 K (3567 °F)|
|Boiling point||3968 K (6683 °F)|
|Molar volume||8.28 ×1010-3 m3/mol|
|Heat of vaporization||493 kJ/mol|
|Heat of fusion||21.5 kJ/mol|
|Vapor pressure||0.633 Pa at 2239 K|
|Speed of sound||4700 m/s at 293.15 K|
|Electronegativity||2.28 (Pauling scale)|
|Specific heat capacity||0.242 J/(kg*K)|
|Electrical conductivity||21.1 106/m ohm|
|Thermal conductivity||150 W/(m*K)|
|1st ionization potential||719.7 kJ/mol|
|2nd ionization potential||1740 kJ/mol|
|3rd ionization potential||2997 kJ/mol|
|Most Stable Isotopes|
|SI units & STP are used except where noted.|
|Table of contents|
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Rhodium is a hard silvery white and durable metal that has a high reflectance. It changes in air to the resquioxide while slowly cooling from a red hot state but at higher temperatures converts back to the metal. Rhodium has both a higher melting point and lower density than platinum. It is not attacked by acids and only dissolves in aqua regia.
The primary use of this element is as an alloying agent for hardening platinum and palladium. These alloys are used in furnace windings, bushings for glass fiber production, thermocouple elements, electrodes for aircraft spark plugs, and laboratory crucibles. Other uses;
- It is used as an electrical contact material due to its low electrical resistance, low and stable contact resistance, and its high corrosion resistance.
- Plated rhodium, made by electroplating or evaporation, is extremely hard and is used for optical instruments.
- This metal finds use in jewelry and for decorations.
- It is also a highly useful catalyst in a number of industrial processes (notably it is used in the catalytic system of automobile catalytic converters).
HistoryRhodium (Greek rhodon meaning "rose") was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston soon after his discovery of palladium. Wollaston made this discovery in England using crude platinum ore that he presumably obtained from South America.
His procedure involved dissolving the ore in aqua regia, neutralizing the acid with sodium hydroxide (NaOH). He then precipitated the platinum metal by adding ammonium chloride, NHH4Cl, as ammonium chloroplatinate. The element palladium was removed as palladium cyanide after treating the solution with mercuric cyanide. The material that remained was a red substance with rhodium chloride salts and rhodium metal was isolated via reduction with hydrogen gas.
The industrial extraction of rhodium is complex as the metal occurs in ores mixed with other metals such as palladium, silver, platinum, and gold. It is found in platinum ores and obtained free as a white inert metal which it is very difficult to fuse. Principal sources of this element are located in river sands of the Ural Mountains, in North and South America and also in the copper-nickel sulfide mining area of the Sudbury, Ontario region. Although the quantity at Sudbury is very small, the large amount of nickel ore processed makes rhodium recovery cost effective. However, the annual world production of this element is only 7 or 8 tons and there are very few rhodium minerals.
Naturally occurring rhodium is composed of only one isotope (Rh-103). The most stable radioisotopes are Rh-101 with a half-life of 3.3 years, Rh-102 with a half-life of 207 days, and Rh-99 with a half-life of 16.1 days. Twenty other radioisotopes have been characterized with atomic weights ranging from 92.926 amu (Rh-93) to 116.925 amu (Rh-117). Most of these have half-lifes that are less than an hour except Rh-100 (half-life: 20.8 hours) and Rh-105 (half-life: 35.36 hours). There are also numerous meta states with the most stable being Rhm-102 (0.141 MeV) with a half-life of about 2.9 years and Rhm-101 (0.157 MeV) with a half-life of 4.34 days.
The primary decay mode before the only stable isotope, Rh-103, is electron capture and the primary mode after is beta emission. The primary decay product before Rh-103 is ruthenium and the primary product after is palladium.
Compounds that contain rhodium are not encountered by most people often and should be considered to by highly toxic and carcinogenic. Rhodium compounds can stain human skin very strongly. This element plays no biological role in humans.