45Rh Rhodium

Year Discovered

1803

Discovered By

William Hyde Wollaston of England

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.

Description

Named after the Greek word meaning rose, rhodium is a lustrous, hard silvery-white metal. Much like ruthenium, it is stable, being affected only by hot alkalis. Rhodium’s primary use is as a catalyst. It is also alloyed with palladium and platinum to harden those metals. It is also used in the coating of mirrors and to form a hard, lustrous coating for silverware, jewelry and camera parts. It is a component of automobile catalytic converters, which help clean up exhaust gases. It is the most valuable platinum group metal.

Biological Benefits

Rhodium has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefit for life processes.

Sources

Rhodium is stable enough to be frequently found in its pure form. Rhodplumsite is a somewhat common rhodium-bearing mineral. Rhodium is obtained as a by-product from mining platinum and palladium in the USA (Montana), South Africa and Russia.