Technetium is a silvery-gray metal with the atomic number 43 and periodic table symbol Tc. It looks similar to platinum and usually appears as a powdery substance. Technetium is the lightest element whose isotopes are all radioactive. Because it isn’t very present in the Earth’s crust, technetium is typically produced synthetically.
Technetium was discovered in Italy in 1937 in a sample of molybdenum and was the first artificially produced element. It exists terrestrially only in minimal concentrations but has been found in stellar material. In its powder form, technetium burns when it is exposed to oxygen.
Before element 43 was discovered to be technetium, this gap was misidentified as several other substances, including iridium, niobium-tantalum alloy, iridium-rhodium-iron alloy, yttrium, and rhenium.
Technetium is an excellent superconductor and often used to prevent steel from corroding. It tarnishes slowly in humid conditions and has a similar chemical makeup as rhenium. Of its 22 reported isotopes, the 99Tcm isotope is also used for diagnostic medical testing. This isotope can bind to red blood cells and map issues with the circulatory system to assess amounts of damage.
Technetium can also be dissolved in substances that include concentrated sulfuric acid, aqua regia, and nitric acid. It is not soluble in any strength of hydrochloric acid.
Technetium is not typically found in the human body and has no known chemical toxicity. However, it must be handled carefully since inhaling the dust can cause a significant cancer risk. It's recommended to wear glassware, gloves, and fume hoods in the lab as safety precautions.
Avion Alloys is well versed in the many different chemical components that go into creating metals. We are a NASA approved vendor and offer a variety of metal ready to be purchased. For a free quote, contact us at (800) 408-2329.
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