Franz Joseph Muller von Reichenstein discoverer of tellurium element

Franz Joseph Muller von Reichenstein – discoverer of tellurium element

Tellurium is semicondutor in nature
Article on Franz Joseph Muller von Reichenstein

Biography & contributions

Franz Joseph Muller von Reichenstein, an Austrian mineralogist born on July 01, 1740 – died on October 12, 1825. Reichenstein was discoverer of tellurium element.

Reichenstein also discovered occurrence of tourmaline in the Zillertal. He conducted more than fifty tests and he determined the specific gravity of the mineral and noted the radish-like odor of the white smoke which passed off when the new metal was heated, the red color which the metal imparts to sulfuric acid, and the black precipitate which this solution gives when diluted with water. Reichenstein coined these metals as aurum paradoxium and metallum problematicum.

In 1798, the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth identified this metal as tellurium.

Facts about tellurium

Tellurium is a semimetallic, lustrous, crystalline, brittle, silver-white element. It is usually available as a dark grey powder. It has the properties both of the metals and the non metals.Tellurium is present in coal at up to 2 ppm. Tellurium in plants can reach level as high as 6 ppm, although few food plants have more than 0.5 ppm and most have less than 0.05 ppm.

Tellurium is brittle and easily pulverised. Tellurium is a p-type semiconductor, and shows varying conductivity with crystal alignment. Its conductivity increases slightly with exposure to light. Tellurium can be doped with silver, copper, gold, tin, or other elements.

Tellurium is alloyed with copper and stainless steel to make these metals more workable. It is added at very low levels to lead to decreases the corrosive action of sulfuric acid in batteries and to improve the lead’s strength and hardness.

Tellurium is used as a coloring agent in ceramics. It is used in vulcanizing rubber and in catalysts for petroleum cracking and in blasting caps for explosives.

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