Rhenium: the essentials

Rhenium is silvery white with a metallic lustre; its density is exceeded only by that of platinum, iridium, and osmium, and its melting point is exceeded only by that of tungsten and carbon. It has other useful properties. It is expensive but useful as a trace alloying agent.

rhenium wire
Rhenium wire.

Rhenium: historical information

Rhenium was discovered by Walter Noddack, Ida Tacke, Otto Berg in 1925 at Germany. Origin of name: from the Greek word "Rhenus" meaning river "Rhine".

Discovery of rhenium is generally attributed to Walter Noddack, Ida Tacke-Noddack, and Otto Berg, who announced in 1925 they had detected the element in platinum ores and columbite.

Rhenium around us Read more »

Rhenium has no biological role.

Rhenium does not occur as the free element in nature. Rhenium is found as minor components in the mineral gadolinite, which contains beryllium, and molybdenite, which contains molybdenum. In practice, it is extracted commonly as a byproduct from molybdenum smelter flue dust.

Abundances for rhenium in a number of different environments. More abundance data »
Location ppb by weight ppb by atoms Links
Universe 0.2 0.001 Chemical elements abundance by weight in the universe on a miniature periodic table spark table
Crustal rocks 2.6 0.3 Chemical elements abundance by weight in the earth's crust on a miniature periodic table spark table
Human (no data) ppb by weight (no data) atoms relative to C = 1000000 Chemical elements abundance by weight in humans on a miniature periodic table spark table

Physical properties Read more »

Heat properties Read more »

Crystal structure Read more »

The solid state structure of rhenium is: hcp (hexagonal close-packed).

Rhenium: orbital properties Read more »

Rhenium atoms have 75 electrons and the shell structure is The ground state electronic configuration of neutral Rhenium is [Xe].4f14.5d5.6s2 and the term symbol of Rhenium is 6S5/2.


Isolation: coming soon!

Rhenium isotopes Read more »

Both Rhenium isotopes are used for medical purposes. Re-185 is used for the production of Re-186 which is used for bone pain palliation. Re-187 can be used for the production of Re-188 which is used for cancer therapy and restenosis, though most Re-188 is produced via W-186.

Table. Stables isotopes of rhenium.
Isotope Mass
(atom %)
spin (I)
moment (μ/μN)
185Re 184.952951 (3) 37.40 (2) 5/2 3.1871
187Re 186.955744 (3) 62.60 (2) 5/2 3.2197

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