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rhodium(rō`dēəm), metallic chemical element; symbol Rh; at. no. 45; at. wt. 102.90550; m.p. about 1,966°C;; b.p. 3,727±100°C;; sp. gr. 12.41 at 20°C;; valence +2, +3, +4, +5, or +6. Rhodium is a lustrous, silver-white, chemically resistant metal in the so-called platinum group of metals in Group 9 of the periodic tableperiodic table,
chart of the elements arranged according to the periodic law discovered by Dmitri I. Mendeleev and revised by Henry G. J. Moseley. In the periodic table the elements are arranged in columns and rows according to increasing atomic number (see the table entitled
..... Click the link for more information. . It has a face-centered cubic crystalline structure. It is insoluble in most acids, including aqua regia, but is dissolved in hot concentrated sulfuric acid. Rhodium compounds include halides, oxides, sulfates, sulfites, a nitrate, and a sulfide. The salts form rose-colored aqueous solutions. Rhodium is found associated with other platinum metals in river sands and in compounds in such minerals as rhodite and sperrylite. It is obtained as a byproduct in the refining of nickel sulfide ores mined near Sudbury, Ont., Canada.
The major use of the metal is in alloys with platinum and iridium; it gives improved high-temperature strength and oxidation resistance. These alloys are used in pen nibs, high-temperature thermocouple and resistance wires, bearings, and electrical contacts and as a catalyst. In motor vehicle catalytic converters, it converts the nitrogen oxides in the exhaust into nitrogen and oxygen. The metal itself, because of its brilliance and resistance to tarnish, is used to plate jewelry and the reflectors of searchlights. Rhodium was discovered in 1804 by W. H. WollastonWollaston, William Hyde,
1766–1828, English scientist, M.D. Cambridge, 1793. His wide-ranging scientific achievements include the discovery (1802) of the dark lines (Fraunhofer lines) in the solar spectrum; invention of the reflecting goniometer (an instrument by which the
..... Click the link for more information. in crude platinum ore.