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Science Innovation Centre · 044 · Ruthenium

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Ruthenium, together with rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum form a group of elements referred to as the platinum group metals (PGM).

Ruthenium is a hard, white metal. It does not tarnish at room temperatures, but oxidises in air at about 800°C. The metal is not attacked by hot or cold acids or aqua regia, but when potassium chlorate is added to the solution, it oxidises explosively. It dissolved in molten alkalis.

Ruthenium demand is rising: the metal find use in the electronic industry (50%) and the chemical industry (40%), with smaller amounts being used in alloying. In electronics it used to be used mainly for electrical contacts but most now goes into chip resistors. In the chemical industry it is used in the anodes for chlorine production in electrochemical cells.