Rhenium

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Rhenium (pronunciation: /ˈrniəm/ REE-nee-əm) is a chemical element with the symbol Re and atomic number 75. It is a silvery-white, heavy, third-row transition metal in group 7 of the periodic table. With an average concentration of 1 part per billion (ppb), rhenium is one of the rarest elements in the Earth's crust. The free element has the third-highest melting point of any element, exceeded only by tungsten and carbon. Rhenium resembles manganese chemically and is obtained as a by-product of molybdenum and copper refinement. Rhenium shows in its compounds a wide variety of oxidation states ranging from −1 to +7.

Discovered in 1925, rhenium was the last naturally occurring stable element to be discovered (francium was the last identified naturally occurring element, but it is unstable). Rhenium was named after the river Rhine.

Nickel-based superalloys for use in jet engines contain up to 6% of rhenium, making jet engine construction the largest use for the element, with chemical industry catalytic uses being next-most important. Because of the low availability relative to demand, rhenium is among the most expensive industrial metals, with an average price exceeding US$6,000 per kilogram, as of 2009.

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