Atomic number: 48 Period Number: 5 Group Number: 12
Cadmium & Compounds
A bluish-grey metal, cadmium (Cd) is closely related to the similar metal zinc, appearing in the same ores and being produced as a result of zinc refining.
Despite being a relatively unknown material in the general conscious, cadmium and its compounds play critical roles in countless applications.
- Batteries. The vast majority of cadmium, over 85% as of 2009, used commercially goes to the production of batteries, mostly rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries.
- Electroplating. A further 6% of global cadmium production goes into electroplating to protect steel components and tools from corrosion. This is primarily seen in the aircraft industry, though not exclusively.
- Nuclear control rods. Cadmium acts as a so-called ‘neutron poison’ in the control rods used in nuclear reactors. By inserting these rods into active materials, further fission can be slowed and reactivity reduced.
- Pigment. A significant but decreasing portion of global cadmium production goes to the production of certain yellow, orange, and white pigments. Concerns about toxicity have seen this usage shrink in recent years.
- Coatings. Outside of aircraft electroplating, cadmium and its compounds are also used for various other protective coatings.
- Lasers. Cadmium is a primary component in the production of certain lasers used in the research of light.
- Low-melt alloys. Various solders, bearing alloys, and antifriction materials use cadmium as a component element.
- Solar. Despite reduced use in a number of other fields due to toxicity concerns, cadmium has found new potential in solar technology.
Available from AHP Materials
Wikipedia - Basics on Cadmium
Chemicool - Cool way to learn about Cadmium
WebElements - The basic elements of Cadmium
Jefferson Lab - Learning about Cadmium