Cadmium, symbol Cd, is a chemical element with the atomic number 48. It is a soft metal and appears as a bluish-white color. It is chemically similar to both zinc and mercury, and shares common attributes with each. It is a relatively scarce element and usually occurs as a minor component of zinc ores. Although it was once used for stabilizing plastic and to prevent corrosion of steel, it is no longer used for many applications because of its toxicity. In fact, the sale and use of cadmium is heavily restricted in Europe.
Who discovered cadmium?
Interestingly, cadmium was simultaneously discovered in 1817 by German chemists Friedrich Stromeyer and Karl Samuel Leberecht Hermann. Stromeyer discovered the new element, while testing zinc oxide for purity, as an impurity in zinc carbonate. There is still some debating about who found the pure form of cadmium first, but its discovery is generally attributed to Stromeyer.
Interesting facts about cadmium
It has a relatively low boiling point (321 degrees Celsius) when compared to other metals.
It is used to make NiCd rechargeable batteries.
Cadmium exposure is considered harmful to humans and can cause a variety of medical complications, including death in serious cases. A number of products have been recalled because of high levels of cadmium.
The atomic weight (mass) of cadmium is 112.411
Although cadmium is usually produced in the process of refining zinc, it can also be produced in the refining process of both lead and copper.