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transition elements, aqua regia, natural abundance, superconductor, pure metal

Ruthenium, symbol Ru, chemically unreactive, grayish-white metallic element. Ruthenium is one of the transition elements of the periodic table. The atomic number of ruthenium is 44.

Ruthenium was discovered in 1844 by the Russian chemist Karl Karlovich Klaus. The name of the element is derived from the region of Ruthenia, now a part of Ukraine. The metal occurs in the metallic state as a tiny percentage of platinum ores. Ruthenium is quite rare; it ranks about 80th in natural abundance among elements in crustal rocks. Ruthenium melts at about 2334C (about 4233F), boils at about 4150C (about 7502F), and has a specific gravity of 12.4. The atomic weight of ruthenium is 101.07.

The addition of ruthenium to platinum and palladium alloys makes the alloys very hard. Such alloys have a high resistance to wear and are used in the manufacture of jewelry, in porcelain-metal restorations in dentistry, as tips for fountain-pen nibs, and for nonmagnetic instrument pivots. The alloy ruthenium-molybdenum is a superconductor at temperatures below -263C (-441.4F). The pure metal is superior to platinum in resistance to attack by acids, including aqua regia.

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transition elements, aqua regia, natural abundance, superconductor, pure metal, periodic table, specific gravity, high resistance, acids, dentistry, platinum, Ukraine, elements, temperatures, tips

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