44Ru Ruthenium

Year Discovered


Discovered By

Karl Klaus of Russia

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


Named for Russia (in Latin, Russia is Ruthenia), ruthenium is a lustrous, silvery-white metal. It is very hard and brittle, so much so, that it cannot be worked when pure. It is very stable, being unaffected by air, water and acids. It is only affected by hot alkalis. When alloyed with platinum or palladium, ruthenium hardens those metals to a high degree. It is also alloyed with titanium to greatly improve that metal’s resistance to corrosion. It is also very useful as a chemical catalyst. Ruthenium alloyed with molybdenum is a superconductor at very low temperatures.

Biological Benefits

Ruthenium has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefits for life processes.


Ruthenium is stable enough to be frequently found in its pure form. It is only rarely found in other minerals. It is generally not mined, but produced as a by-product of nickel processing. Ruthenarsenite is one of the few ruthenium-bearing minerals.