75Re Rhenium

Year Discovered


Discovered By

Walter Noddack, Ida Tacke and Otto Berg of Germany

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


Named from the Greek name for the Rhine River, rhenium is a silvery-white metal that will slowly tarnish in moist air and is affected by certain acids. Rhenium is a very dense, very rare metal and has the third highest melting point of the elements as well as a very high density. It is used in high temperature alloys, especially in filaments and flash bulbs for photography. It is also used in electrical contact points, thermocouples and as a catalyst. A rhenium-molybdenum alloy is a superconductor at very low temperatures.

Biological Benefits

Rhenium has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefits for life processes in plants and animals.


There are no known rhenium minerals, and it mainly occurs in molybdenum and beryllium minerals as an impurity. Rhenium is obtained from molybdenite in porphyry copper mines and recovered as a by-product of molybdenum processing. Top producers of rhenium include Chile, Poland, the United States, and Uzbekistan.