Home » Ruthenium: A Comprehensive Guide To Its Properties, Uses, And Applications

Ruthenium: A Comprehensive Guide To Its Properties, Uses, And Applications

by chemdude71

Ruthenium is a precious metal with a wide range of uses in everyday life and industry. It is the rarest of the platinum group metals, and yet its versatility makes it an essential part of many important products, processes, and applications. This guide is an overview of ruthenium and its properties, uses, and applications. We will explore its history, the processes involved in the production and refining of ruthenium, and the many uses and applications of this remarkable metal. We will also look at the environmental impact of ruthenium and its future prospects.

Ruthenium is a hard, silvery-white metal that is both rare and valuable. It is one of the transition metals and has a high melting point of 2,400°C and a boiling point of 6,000°C. Ruthenium has a unique combination of properties that make it ideal for many industrial applications. It is highly corrosion-resistant, has excellent electrical conductivity, and is highly catalytic – making it well suited for use in catalytic converters, and other industrial processes. It is also very ductile and malleable, making it easy to work with.

Ruthenium has been used in jewelry and ornaments since ancient times, and it is still used today for luxury items such as watches and rings. It is also used to make alloys and for catalysts in the chemical industry. It is also highly sought after for its electrical properties, which make it ideal for use in semiconductors and electronics. In recent years, ruthenium has become increasingly important in the aerospace and automotive industries, as it can be used to make lightweight, heat-resistant materials.

As well as its many uses in industry, ruthenium also has a variety of medical applications. It is used to make surgical instruments, dental implants, and medical devices such as pacemakers. It is also used in radiation therapy for cancer patients.

This guide will cover all of these topics in detail, and provide a comprehensive overview of ruthenium and its properties, uses, and applications.




Many trace the origin of Ruthenium back to the early 1800s, when it was first discovered by a scientist from the University of Dorpat in Russia. This scientist, Karl Karlovich Klaus, was the first to isolate Ruthenium in its pure form, an achievement that was met with great enthusiasm at the time.

Ruthenium wasn’t used in industrial production until the early 1900s, when it was first used to manufacture electrical contacts. From there, its use spread in the electrical industry, which led to the rapid development of Ruthenium-based technologies. During this time, the production of Ruthenium grew exponentially, and it soon became one of the most important elements used in industrial production.

Ruthenium played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, as it was used in the production of electrical contacts and wires. This increased the efficiency of electrical systems and helped to revolutionize the way in which electricity was used. Ruthenium was also used in the production of other products, such as steam engines, steam turbines, and other electrical components.

The use of Ruthenium in the electrical industry continued to expand in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and its use in alloys and catalysts began to grow. Ruthenium was used in a variety of alloys, such as stainless steel, and its use in catalysts allowed for improved chemical reactions. By the early 20th century, Ruthenium had become an important element in many industrial processes.

Ruthenium’s use in industry continued to expand throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it eventually became a key component of many sophisticated technological developments. Its use in electronics, aerospace, automotive, and medical fields have all increased dramatically over the years, due to the unique properties it has to offer.

The history of Ruthenium is a long and fascinating one, and its role in the Industrial Revolution was instrumental in the development of modern technologies. Its unique properties have allowed it to play a key role in a variety of industries, and its use is certain to continue to increase in the years to come.


Processes Involved in the Production of Ruthenium


Ruthenium is an increasingly popular metal, with many applications in the automotive, medical, aerospace, and electronics industries. Obtaining the metal requires a thorough process, involving several steps.

Mining Processes: Ruthenium can be found in ore deposits, though not in great abundance. Therefore, it is best extracted as a by-product of other metals like copper, platinum, and nickel. The ore is first retrieved from the ground and crushed to a size where the Ruthenium particles are more identified. After this, the ore goes through a separation process, with Ruthenium being isolated from other metals. Ruthenium can also be found in certain minerals, like ruthenite, in which the metal is mined in its purest form.

Refining Processes: After the mining process, the ore, or mineral, is then sent to the refinery. In the refinery, the raw material is heated in furnaces at high temperatures. Then, the material is further purified with the help of chemicals, turning it into a more concentrated form of Ruthenium.

Application Processes: After the refining process, the pure Ruthenium is sent to the application facility. Here, the metal can be used for a variety of purposes, depending on its intended use and the application process required. For instance, the metal can be alloyed with other metals, used as a catalyst, or moulded into electronic components.

Overall, the process of obtaining Ruthenium is quite complex, requiring many different steps before the metal can be used in its intended applications. The mining, refining, and application processes are all necessary to obtain the purest form of Ruthenium for use in a variety of industries.


Properties of Ruthenium


Ruthenium is a chemical element that is part of the transition metals group. It has an atomic number of 44 and is denoted by the symbol Ru. Ruthenium is a rare element that is found in trace amounts in many countries. Ruthenium has several physical and chemical properties that make it a useful material in a variety of applications.

Physical Properties

Ruthenium is a hard, brittle, and silvery-white metal that is extremely durable and resistant to corrosion. It is usually found in the form of powder or flakes and is not soluble in water. It has a melting point of 2237 °C (4059 °F) and a boiling point of 3900 °C (7012 °F). Ruthenium is a relatively dense element with a density of 12.41 g/cm³, which is higher than that of lead.

Chemical Properties

Ruthenium is a transition metal and is known for its ability to bind with other metals. It is very reactive and reacts readily with both air and water. Ruthenium is also highly resistant to oxidation, and it typically does not corrode in most environments.

Electrical Properties

Ruthenium is a good conductor of electricity and heat. It has a low electrical resistivity, which means that it can be used in electrical circuits and components. Ruthenium can also be used as a catalyst in some applications. It is also highly resistant to sparking and has a low risk of electrical shock when exposed to extreme temperatures.

Ruthenium is a versatile element with many potential applications due to its unique physical, chemical, and electrical properties. Its durability and resistance to corrosion make it an ideal material for many industries, including electronics, aerospace, automotive, and medical. It is also an important component in many alloys and catalysts, and it is used to create semiconductors and jewellery.

Uses of Ruthenium


Ruthenium is an incredibly versatile metal, and its properties make it suitable for a wide variety of applications. It has been used in industrial processes since the early 19th century, and its use has only grown since then as more of its unique properties have been discovered.

Alloys: Ruthenium is a key component in alloys, often used in combination with other metals such as platinum, palladium, and iridium to create a new material with different properties. For example, ruthenium-platinum alloys are often used to make needles and bearings because they are extremely strong and resistant to wear.

Catalysts: Ruthenium is also used as a catalyst in a variety of industrial processes, such as in the production of synthetic rubber and fuel cells. It has also been used in catalytic converters in cars since they were introduced in the 1970s. Ruthenium is an ideal catalyst because it is able to speed up chemical reactions without changing its own properties.

Semiconductors: Ruthenium is also a valuable semiconductor material, which means it is able to conduct electricity better than many other metals. This makes it very useful in the production of transistors and other electronic components, as well as in the construction of solar cells.

Jewellery and Ornaments: Ruthenium is also a popular material in the jewellery and ornament industry. Its unique finish and colouration make it an attractive material for crafting jewellery and other decorative items. Ruthenium is also highly resistant to corrosion, which makes it ideal for making items such as coins and medallions.

Given its wide range of properties and applications, it is no surprise that ruthenium has become such an essential element in the modern world. As more of its properties are explored and studied, its uses are sure to expand even further.


Applications of Ruthenium


Ruthenium is a rare metal with an incredibly varied range of applications. It is used in a number of industries and products, including electronics, aerospace, automotive, and medical. Some of the major uses of ruthenium are discussed below.

Electronics: Ruthenium is used in the manufacture of electronic components, such as resistors, capacitors, and transistors. It is also used in contact surfaces in electric circuit boards, and in connectors for wires and cables. Ruthenium is also used to protect the contacts of electronic devices from corrosion. It has a high melting and boiling point, making it ideal for use as a soldering material.

Aerospace: Ruthenium is used in various aerospace applications, such as in the production of jet engines, as well as in the manufacture of aircraft windows and frames. It is also used in the construction of satellites and space shuttles. Ruthenium is known for its ability to withstand extreme temperatures and pressures, and is often used in the construction of space-bound vehicles.

Automotive: Ruthenium is used in the production of automobiles, particularly in the manufacture of spark plugs, fuel cells, and catalytic converters. It is also used in the manufacture of engine parts, such as bearings, pistons, and valves, as well as in the production of exhaust systems.

Medical: Ruthenium is used in various medical applications, such as in the production of pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, and medical implants. It is also used in the manufacture of radiation therapy equipment, as well as in cancer treatment and diagnostic tools.

Ruthenium is widely used in a number of industries and products, and its use has been steadily increasing over the years. Its unique properties and diverse applications make it a valuable resource, and its use is likely to continue to grow in the years to come.


Environmental Impact of Ruthenium


The environmental impact of ruthenium is worth considering when it comes to the production, use, and disposal of this element. The heavy metal is considered to be moderately toxic, and thus, its use must be carefully monitored in order to avoid potential health and ecological issues. Understanding the potential environmental impacts of ruthenium is essential for identifying the most suitable applications and ensuring that its use is properly regulated.

Health Issues:

Ruthenium is not considered to be highly toxic and is often used for its valuable catalytic properties. However, exposure to ruthenium can be hazardous to one’s health and can cause a variety of health issues. Direct contact and inhalation of ruthenium-containing dust or fumes can result in skin irritation, gastrointestinal issues, and respiratory problems. Additionally, high concentrations of ruthenium in drinking water can lead to neurological issues. Therefore, it is essential to take the necessary safety precautions when dealing with ruthenium compounds and its by-products.

Ecological Issues:

Ruthenium can also have a negative impact on the environment. It is known to be an endocrine-disrupting chemical, meaning that it can interfere with the hormones of wildlife and plants. In terms of aquatic ecosystems, ruthenium has been found to disrupt reproduction and growth in fish, as well as inhibit the growth of certain algae. Additionally, its presence in the environment has been linked to decreased plant diversity and soil fertility.

Regulatory Measures:

Given the potential health and ecological risks of ruthenium, it is important to ensure that its use is properly regulated. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has set stringent guidelines for the discharge of ruthenium compounds in the environment, as well as the use of ruthenium in the manufacturing of products. These guidelines are in place to ensure that the environment is protected from any potential risks associated with ruthenium.

In conclusion, ruthenium has many valuable and diverse applications; however, it is important to consider the potential environmental impact of this element. Understanding the health and ecological risks associated with ruthenium is essential for ensuring that its use is properly regulated. Additionally, following the necessary safety protocols when dealing with ruthenium is essential for preventing any potential harm to people and the environment.


Future of Ruthenium


Though Ruthenium is a relatively rare metal, its uses across several industries have been making it a valuable commodity. It is expected that its use and demand will grow further in the years to come, given its diverse range of properties and applications. With the advancement of technology, it is believed that Ruthenium has the potential to revolutionize industries and open new opportunities.

The first emerging application of Ruthenium is in the automotive industry. As electric vehicles become more popular, manufacturers are looking for materials that offer better conductivity and higher corrosion resistance. Ruthenium, with its excellent electrical properties, is an ideal choice as it can better withstand extreme temperatures and harsh conditions that are common in the industry. It is also expected to be used in other automotive components, such as switches and contact pins.

The aerospace industry could also benefit from Ruthenium’s unique properties. It is being tested for its use in jet engines, as the Jet-A fuel used in them may corrode parts made of other materials. Ruthenium’s high corrosion resistance could help protect the engines from wear and tear. In addition, its high thermal stability could make it an ideal material for turbine blades, which need to withstand high temperatures.

The medical field could also benefit from Ruthenium. Its inertness and non-toxicity makes it safe to use in the body. It can be used in medical implants, as it is non-magnetic and non-corrosive. In addition, its high electrical conductivity could be used to power medical devices implanted in the body, such as pacemakers.

The environmental impact of Ruthenium is an important consideration when looking at its future applications. Its use can lead to air and water pollution, as well as the release of toxins into the environment. Therefore, it is important to ensure that mining and refining processes are done in a sustainable manner to minimize the impact on the environment. In addition, regulations need to be put in place to ensure proper disposal of Ruthenium-based materials.

The future of Ruthenium looks promising, as it holds the potential to revolutionize multiple industries. Its unique and diverse properties make it an invaluable resource and its use could open up new opportunities for innovation. However, it is important to remember the environmental impact of its use and to ensure that proper regulations are in place to minimize the negative impact on the environment.



Pronunciation roo-THEE-nee-əm
Appearance silvery white metallic
Standard atomic weight Ar°(Ru)
  • 101.07±0.02
Ruthenium in the periodic table
Atomic number (Z) 44
Group group 8
Period period 5
Block   d-block
Electron configuration [Kr] 4d7 5s1
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 15, 1
Physical properties
Phase at STP solid
Melting point 2607 K ​(2334 °C, ​4233 °F)
Boiling point 4423 K ​(4150 °C, ​7502 °F)
Density (near r.t.) 12.45 g/cm3
when liquid (at m.p.) 10.65 g/cm3
Heat of fusion 38.59 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization 619 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity 24.06 J/(mol·K)
Vapor pressure
P (Pa) 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T (K) 2588 2811 3087 3424 3845 4388
Atomic properties
Oxidation states −4, −2, 0, +1,[2] +2, +3+4, +5, +6, +7, +8 (a mildly acidic oxide)
Electronegativity Pauling scale: 2.2
Ionization energies
  • 1st: 710.2 kJ/mol
  • 2nd: 1620 kJ/mol
  • 3rd: 2747 kJ/mol
Atomic radius empirical: 134 pm
Covalent radius 146±7 pm
Other properties
Natural occurrence primordial
Crystal structure ​hexagonal close-packed (hcp)
Speed of sound thin rod 5970 m/s (at 20 °C)
Thermal expansion 6.4 µm/(m⋅K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity 117 W/(m⋅K)
Electrical resistivity 71 nΩ⋅m (at 0 °C)
Magnetic ordering paramagnetic
Molar magnetic susceptibility +39×10−6 cm3/mol (298 K)
Young’s modulus 447 GPa
Shear modulus 173 GPa
Bulk modulus 220 GPa
Poisson ratio 0.30
Mohs hardness 6.5
Brinell hardness 2160 MPa
CAS Number 7440-18-8
Naming after Ruthenia, the 19th-century Latin name for Russia
Discovery and first isolation Karl Ernst Claus (1844)
Main isotopes Decay
abun­dance half-life (t1/2) mode pro­duct
96Ru 5.54% stable
97Ru synth 2.9 d ε 97Tc
98Ru 1.87% stable
99Ru 12.8% stable
100Ru 12.6% stable
101Ru 17.1% stable
102Ru 31.6% stable
103Ru synth 39.26 d β 103Rh
104Ru 18.6% stable
106Ru synth 373.59 d β 106Rh

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