Rhenium is a silvery-white metal with the highest boiling point of any element and third highest melting point. It is a chemical element represented by the symbol Re and the atomic number 75. It is one of the rarest elements on Earth and it is never found in free form in nature. Commercial rhenium is sourced from the mineral molybdenite, which usually contains about 0.2% of the element. Chile is thought to have the largest reserves of rhenium as a part of the large copper ore deposits. The country also produces most of the world’s supply of the metal. Let’s find out who discovered this element.
Who discovered rhenium?
The existence of this element was predicted by Dmitry Mendeleev, who was the inventor of the first periodic table. In 1914 Henry Moseley also showed that there was a gap in the periodic table for an undiscovered element. In 1925 the discovery of rhenium was announced by German chemists Walter Noddack, Ida Tacke, and Otto Berg. They detected the element in the minerals columbite, gadolinite, molybdenite, and in platinum ore. In 1928 they extracted 1 g (0.35 oz) of rhenium from more than 660 kg (1455 lbs) of molybdenite. Rhenium was the last stable element to be discovered and the second last naturally occurring element to be discovered. Rhenium was named after the river Rhine in Europe.
Did you know?
There is debate about whether Noddack, Tacke and Berg also discovered element 43 (technetium), which they named masurium. They claimed the discovery in 1925, but their results could not be verified by other scientists and their claim was dismissed. Later studies appear to show that they may have indeed discovered the element.