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Tellurium is a semi metallic, lustrous, crystalline, brittle, silver-white element. It is usually available as a dark grey powder, it has the properties both of the metals and the non-metals. Tellurium forms many compounds corresponding to those of sulphur and selenium. When burned in air tellurium has a greenish-blue flame and forms tellurium dioxide as a result. Tellurium is unaffected by water or hydrochloric acid, but dissolves in nitric acid.
Tellurium is often used as an additive to steel and it is often alloyed to aluminium, copper, lead or tin. Tellurium is added to lead to improve its durability, strength and resistance to corrosion. It can be used for cast iron, ceramics, blasting caps, solar panels, chalcogenide glasses. When added to rubber, tellurium speeds up the curing process and makes the product less susceptible to ageing and less likely to be affected by oil, which softens normal rubber.