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What the name means: The name rhenium derives from the Latin word Rhenus, meaning the River Rhine.
Who identified rhenium?: Rhenium was the last naturally occurring element to be identified. This is not surprising since rhenium is one of the rarest elements found in the Earth's crust. By 1914, Henry Moseley had re-adjusted Mendeleev's Periodic Table based on the atomic numbers of the elements. Moseley predicted that there must be as yet unidentified elements at #43 and #75 positions.
In 1925, a German team, working in Berlin investigated ores containing rare earth elements to attempt to identify elements #43 and #75. Walter Noddack, Ida Eva Tacke and Otto Berg used platinum ores at first but, because these were too expensive, focused their research on columbite and gadolinite ores. They used X-ray spectral information to conclude that they had identified element #75. They named the element rhenium after the Rhineland, Tacke's birthplace.
The team continued to look for element #43. They bombarded columbite ore with electrons and obtained an X-ray spectral line that seemed to fit the elusive #43. They named the element masurium, after Noddack's birthplace. However, their research was not confirmed and #43 remained unidentified for another ten years.
STP = standard temperature and pressure.
About rhenium: Rhenium is the rarest metal in the Earth's crust and, therefore, one of the most expensive! It can be obtained as a grey powder or a silvery-looking metal. Rhenium has one of the highest melting points of all elements. It is used in industry to form alloys and as a catalyst.
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