What is tellurium?


The tellurium is located within the element group metals semi , looking bright crystalline, brittle and with a characteristic color, silver white . Generally, we can find it available as a dark gray powder . This is an element that has the properties of both metals and non-metals . Tellurium forms many compounds that correspond to those of sulfur and selenium . When burned in air, tellurium produces a blue-green flame and as a result produces tellurium dioxide.. Tellurium is not affected by water or hydrochloric acid, but it can be dissolved in nitric acid .


  • Symbol : Te
  • Atomic number : 52
  • Group: 16

What is tellurium?

Tellurium is one of the best known metalloids that we find in the periodic table of the elements in position number 16, pale silver and whitish in color , it has a great metallic brilliance when it is in its pure state .

  • Tellurium Characteristics
  • History
  • Who discovered tellurium
  • Properties
  • What is tellurium for?
  • Where is it located

Tellurium Characteristics

Its main characteristics are the following:

  • Its atomic number is 52
  • The atomic mass of tellurium is 127.6 u
  • The atomic symbol with which we find it in the periodic table of the elements is Te
  • They have a melting point of 450 ° C
  • Its boiling point is 988 ° C
  • It has a density of 6.24 -3
  • Its electron configuration  is [Kr] 4d105s25p4
  • It belongs to period 5 of the periodic table, in group 16
  • Its color is silver and whitish .
  • It is one of the best known metalloids that exist.
  • In its crystallized state it can be easily pulverized


The word tellurium comes from the Latin word “tellus” which means “Earth”, and was given in honor of the Roman goddess Tellus who personified the Earth in Latin mythology. The element tellurium was discovered in the year 1783 by Franz Joseph Müller von Reichenstein in Sibiu, Romania . This scientist was very curious about a mineral that had been found in a mine near Zalatna, which had an incredible metallic luster and which he suspected was antimony or bismuth found in pure or native form. Preliminary investigation did not show this mineral to be antimony or bismuth. Over three years, Müller devoted himself to researching the mineral and succeeding in showing that it contained anew item . He published his findings in a journal and it went almost unnoticed. In 1796 , he sent a sample of the element to Martin Klaproth in Berlin , who finally confirmed the findings. Klaproth produced a pure sample and decided to give it the name tellurium . Interestingly, this was not the first sample that passed through his hands. In 1789, another sample had been sent by a Hungarian scientist, Paul Kitaibel , who had discovered it independently.

Who discovered tellurium

Tellurium was discovered by Franz Joseph Müller von Reichenstein in Romania in the year 1782.


Among the atomic properties of tellurium we can mention that it has a total of 52 electrons distributed as follows: In the first shell we find 2 electrons, in the second 8 electrons, in its third shell we observe 18 electrons, in the fourth, 18 electrons and in the fifth shell it has 6 electrons. It is part of the group of elements known as metalloids or semimetals and they have intermediate properties between metals and non-metals.  It is a semiconductor of electricity and in its natural form it is in a solid state. It constitutes approximately between 10 – 9% of the igneous rock that we can find on the earth’s surface. Sometimes it can be found as a free element or associated with selenium . It can be found as silvinite tellurium , which they call graphic tellurium , or as nagiagite or black tellurium . Another form in which we can find tellurium are hessite, altaite, coloradoite and silver and gold tellides.

What is tellurium for?

Tellurium is a mineral that is often used as an additive to steel and is generally alloyed to aluminum, copper, lead, or tin. It is also added to lead to improve its durability and resistance to corrosion . When added to rubber, it has the ability to speed up the curing process and makes the product less susceptible to aging and less likely to be affected by oil, which softens normal rubber. It is mainly used in the electronics industry , for its conductive properties, in the manufacture of compact discs and inthermoelectric devices . In steel and copper machines and in the coloring of glasses .

Where is it located

Sometimes it can be found in its elemental form and other times as tellurium of gold . They are the only chemical compounds in gold that can be found in nature . It is produced mainly in the United States , Peru, Canada and Japan .

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