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|Atomic Number:||52||Atomic Symbol:||Te|
|Atomic Weight:||127.60||Electron Configuration:||2-8-18-18-6|
|Melting Point:||449.5oC||Boiling Point:||989.8oC|
|Description:||Silvery white metal-like non-metal|
|Uses:||Used to improve the machining quality of metal products and to
color glass and ceramics. Also in thermoelectric devices.|
History(L. tellus, earth) Discovered by Muller von Reichenstein in
1782; named by Klaproth, who isolated it in 1798.
SourcesTellurium is occasionally found native, but is more often found
as the telluride of gold (calaverite), and combined with other metals. It is
recovered commercially from the anode muds that are produced during the
electrolytic refining of blister copper. The U.S., Canada, Peru, and Japan are
the largest Free World producers of the element.
- Crystalline tellurium has a silvery-white appearance, and when pure exhibits
a metallic luster.
- It is brittle and easily pulverized.
- Amorphous tellurium is found by precipitating tellurium from a solution of
telluric or tellurous acid.
- Whether this form is truly amorphous, or made of minute crystals, is open to
- Tellurium is a p-type semiconductor, and shows greater conductivity in
certain directions, depending on alignment of the atoms.
- Its conductivity increases slightly with exposure to light.
- It can be doped with silver, copper, gold, tin, or other elements.
- In air, tellurium burns with a greenish-blue flames, forming the dioxide.
- Molten tellurium corrodes iron, copper, and stainless steel.
- Tellurium improves the machinability of copper and stainless steel, and its
addition to lead decreases the corrosive action of sulfuric acid on lead and
improves its strength and hardness.
- Tellurium is used as a basic ingredient in blasting caps, and is added to
cast iron for chill control.
- Tellurium is used in ceramics.
- Bismuth telluride has been used in thermoelectric devices.
HandlingTellurium and its compounds are probably toxic and should be
handled with care.
Workmen exposed to as little as 0.01 mg/m^3 of air, or
less, develop "tellurium breath," which has a garlic-like odor.
CostsTellurium costs about $100/lb, with a purity of about 99.5%.