48 silvercadmiumindium


Periodic Table - Extended Periodic Table
Name, Symbol, Number cadmium, Cd, 48
Chemical series transition metals
Group, Period, Block 12, 5, d
Appearance silvery gray metallic
Atomic mass 112.411(8) g/mol
Electron configuration [Kr] 4d10 5s2
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 18, 2
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density (near r.t.) 8.65 g·cm−3
Liquid density at m.p. 7.996 g·cm−3
Melting point 594.22 K
(321.07 °C, 609.93 °F)
Boiling point 1040 K
(767 °C, 1413 °F)
Heat of fusion 6.21 kJ·mol−1
Heat of vaporization 99.87 kJ·mol−1
Heat capacity (25 °C) 26.020 J·mol−1·K−1
Vapor pressure
P/Pa 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T/K 530 583 654 745 867 1040
Atomic properties
Crystal structure hexagonal
Oxidation states 2
(mildly basic oxide)
Electronegativity 1.69 (Pauling scale)
Ionization energies 1st: 867.8 kJ/mol
2nd: 1631.4 kJ/mol
3rd: 3616 kJ/mol
Atomic radius 155 pm
Atomic radius (calc.) 161 pm
Covalent radius 148 pm
Van der Waals radius 158 pm
Magnetic ordering no data
Electrical resistivity (22 °C) 72.7 nΩ·m
Thermal conductivity (300 K) 96.6 W·m−1·K−1
Thermal expansion (25 °C) 30.8 µm·m−1·K−1
Speed of sound (thin rod) (20 °C) 2310 m/s
Young's modulus 50 GPa
Shear modulus 19 GPa
Bulk modulus 42 GPa
Poisson ratio 0.30
Mohs hardness 2.0
Brinell hardness 203 MPa
CAS registry number 7440-43-9
Selected isotopes
Main article: Isotopes of cadmium
iso NA half-life DM DE (MeV) DP
106Cd 1.25% >9.5×1017 y εε2ν - 106Pd
108Cd 0.89% >6.7×1017 y εε2ν - 108Pd
109Cd syn 462.6 d ε 0.214 109Ag
110Cd 12.49% Cd is stable with 62 neutrons
111Cd 12.8% Cd is stable with 63 neutrons
112Cd 24.13% Cd is stable with 64 neutrons
113Cd 12.22% 7.7×1015 y β- 0.316 113In
113mCd syn 14.1 y β- 0.580 113In
IT 0.264 113Cd
114Cd 28.73% >9.3×1017 y ββ2ν - 114Sn
116Cd 7.49% 2.9×1019 y ββ2ν - 116Sn

Cadmium (IPA: /ˈkadmiəm/) is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Cd and atomic number 48. A relatively rare, soft, bluish-white, transition metal, cadmium is known to cause cancer and occurs with zinc ores. Cadmium is used largely in batteries.




Cadmium is a common impurity in zinc, and it is most often isolated during the production of zinc. Zinc sulfide ores are roasted in the presence of oxygen converting the zinc sulfide to the oxide. Zinc metal is produced either by smelting the oxide with carbon or by electrolysis in sulfuric acid. Cadmium is isolated from the zinc metal by vacuum distillation if the zinc is smelted, or cadmium sulfate is precipitated out of the electrolysis solution.[1]


Notable characteristics

Cadmium is a soft, malleable, ductile, bluish-white bivalent metal which can be easily cut with a knife. It is similar in many respects to zinc but reacts to form more complex compounds.

The most common oxidation state of cadmium is +2, though rare examples of +1 can be found.



About three-quarters of cadmium is used in batteries (especially Ni-Cd batteries) and most of the remaining quarter is used mainly for pigments, coatings and plating, and as stabilizers for plastics. Other uses;

See also Cadmium compounds.



Cadmium (Latin cadmia, Greek kadmeia meaning "calamine") was discovered in Germany in 1817 by Friedrich Strohmeyer. Strohmeyer found the new element within an impurity in zinc carbonate (calamine) and for 100 years Germany remained the only important producer of the metal. The metal was named after the Latin word for calamine since the metal was found in this zinc compound. Strohmeyer noted that some impure samples of calamine changed color when heated but pure calamine did not.

Even though cadmium and its compounds are highly toxic, the British Pharmaceutical Codex from 1907 states that cadmium iodide was used as a medicine to treat "enlarged joints, scrofulous glands, and chilblains".

In 1927, the International Conference on Weights and Measures redefined the meter in terms of a red cadmium spectral line (1m = 1,553,164.13 wavelengths). This definition has since been changed (see krypton).



Cadmium metal
Cadmium metal

Cadmium-containing ores are rare and when found they occur in small quantities. Greenockite (CdS), the only cadmium mineral of importance, is nearly always associated with sphalerite (ZnS). Consequently, cadmium is produced mainly as a byproduct from mining, smelting, and refining sulfide ores of zinc, and to a lesser degree, lead and copper. Small amounts of cadmium, about 10% of consumption, are produced from secondary sources, mainly from dust generated by recycling iron and steel scrap. Production in the United States began in 1907 but it was not until after World War I that cadmium came into wide use.

See also Category:Cadmium minerals.

A role of cadmium in biology has been recently discovered. A cadmium-dependent carbonic anhydrase has been found in marine diatoms. Cadmium does the same job as zinc in other anhydrases, but the diatoms live in environments with very low zinc concentrations, thus biology has taken cadmium rather than zinc, and made it work. The discovery was made using x-ray absorption fluoresence spectroscopy (XAFS), and cadmium was characterised by noting the energy of the x-rays which were absorbed.



Image of the violet light from a helium cadmium metal vapor laser. The highly monochromatic color arises from the 441.563 nm transition line of cadmium.
Image of the violet light from a helium cadmium metal vapor laser. The highly monochromatic color arises from the 441.563 nm transition line of cadmium.

Naturally occurring cadmium is composed of 8 isotopes. For two of them, natural radioactivity was observed, and other three are predicted to be radioactive but their decays were never observed, due to extremely long half-life times. The two natural radioactive isotopes are 113Cd (beta decay, half-life is 7.7 X 1015 years) and 116Cd (two-neutrino double beta decay, half-life is 2.9 X 1019 years). Other three ones are 106Cd, 108Cd (double electron capture), and 114Cd (double beta decay); only lower limits on their half-life times have been set. At least three isotopes - 110Cd, 111Cd, and 112Cd - are absolutely stable. Among the isotopes absent in the natural cadmium, the most long-lived are 109Cd with a half-life of 462.6 days, and 115Cd with a half-life of 53.46 hours. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lifes that are less than 2.5 hours and the majority of these have half-lifes that are less than 5 minutes. This element also has 8 known meta states with the most stable being 113mCd (t½ 14.1 years), 115mCd (t½ 44.6 days) and 117mCd (t½ 3.36 hours).

The known isotopes of cadmium range in atomic weight from 96.935 u (97Cd) to 129.934 amu (138Cd). The primary decay mode before the second most abundant stable isotope, 112Cd, is electron capture and the primary modes after are beta emission and electron capture. The primary decay product before 112Cd is element 47 (silver) and the primary product after is element 49 (indium).



Cadmium is toxic
Cadmium is toxic

Cadmium is an occupational hazard associated with industrial processes such as metal plating and the production of nickel-cadmium batteries, pigments, plastics and other synthetics. The primary route of exposure in industrial settings is inhalation. Inhalation of cadmium-containing fumes can result initially in metal fume fever but may progress to chemical pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, and death. [2]

Cadmium is also a potential environmental hazard. Human exposures to environmental cadmium are primarily the result of the burning of fossil fuels and municipal wastes.[3] However, there have been notable instances of toxicity as the result of long-term exposure to cadmium in contaminated food and water. In the decades following World War II, Japanese mining operations contaminated the Jinzu River with cadmium and traces of other toxic metals. Consequently, cadmium accumulated in the rice crops growing along the riverbanks downstream of the mines. The local agricultural communities consuming the contaminated rice developed Itai-itai disease and renal abnormalities, including proteinuria and glucosuria.[4]

Cadmium and several cadmium-containing compounds are known carcinogens and can induce many types of cancer [5].

The mechanism of cadmium toxicity has not been established. One possible reason for its toxicity is that it interferes with the action of zinc-containing enzymes. Zinc is an important element in biological systems, but cadmium, although similar to zinc chemically in many ways, apparently does not substitute or "stand in" for it well at all.[citation needed] Cadmium may also interfere with biological processes containing magnesium and calcium in a similar fashion.[citation needed]



While working with cadmium it is important to do so under a fume hood or with the use of an appropriate respirator to protect against dangerous fumes. [6] Silver solder, for example, which contains cadmium, should be handled with care.



  1. Cadmium at
  2. [1] Principles and Methods of Toxicology (fourth edition). A. Wallace Hayes. Taylor and Francis Publishing Inc.; Philadelphia, 2001.
  3. EPA summary on cadmium
  4. [2] Environmental cadmium exposure, adverse effects, and preventative measures in Japan. Nogowa et al. Biometals. 2004 Oct; 17(5):581-7.
  5. 11th Report on Carcinogens provided by the National Toxicology Program
  6. OSHA Solutions for workplace cadmium exposure]

External links

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