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April 9 2012 2 09 /04 /April /2012 15:26

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Tellurium will be discussed here.     


Tellurium is a brittle, semimetallic element in the chalcogen group. It is one of the rarest elements in the earth's crust. Tellurium is quite unreactive and does not dissolve in acids. Tellurium forms hexavalent covalent compounds such as the hexafluoride, which are quite low melting and reactive. Tellurites and tellurates, however, are the more commonly used tellurium compounds, as the alkali metal salts are water soluble. Tellurium occurs in the anode sludge when copper is refined, as well as in some selenium minerals. When tellurium is metabolized in the human body, it produces ethyl telluride, which smells very strongly of garlic.


In element form: Tellurium copper, a rare alloy of copper, contains about 0.5% tellurium. Tellurium is used in some old photocopiers instead of selenium.


In compound form: Tellurium suboxide is used in rewritable CDs and DVDs. Thermoelectric heaters (peltier plates) use lead or bismuth telluride as the semiconductor to produce the hot and the cold sides.


Here is my sample of tellurium. It is a DVD-RW.



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Published by LanthanumK - in Elements
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