Jump to navigation Jump to search
Metallic cadmium


A soft, blue-white metallic element. Cadmium has an abundance of about 0.1 ppm in the earth's crust. It primarily occurs as Cadmium sulfide (greenockite) or cadmium carbonate (otavite) in ores rich in Zinc, Copper, or Lead. The silvery metal was first isolated by Fredrich Stromeyer, a German chemist in 1817. Metallic cadmium is ductile and can be cut with a knife or rolled into a thin sheet. It slowly oxidizes in moist air to form cadmium oxide. Cadmium is used in soft solder alloys, in incandescent light filaments, and in nickel-cadmium batteries. It is also electroplated on iron and steel as a corrosion resistant coating. Cadmium salts have been used as [[cadmium red|red], orange, and yellow pigments in ceramic glazes and paints. Additionally cadmium sulfide and cadmium selenide are used as infrared transparent plates for infrared analysis.

Cadmium is on the ILFI Red list of building materials.

Cadmium pigments

Synonyms and Related Terms

Cd; cadmia (Lat.); cadmio (It., Esp.); Cádmio (Port.); Kadmio (Sven.); Kadmium (Deut.)


  • Combustible.
  • Metal and salts are highly toxic by ingestion and inhalation.
  • Carcinogen associated with lung cancer.
  • Acute and long-term exposures can lead to lung and kidney damage, bone loss, and hypertension
  • SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Reacts with acids. Insoluble in water and alkalis.

Composition Cd (atomic no. 48)
CAS 7440-43-9
Mohs Hardness 2.0
Melting Point 320.9 C
Density 8.462 g/ml
Molecular Weight atomic wt = 112.41
Refractive Index 1.13
Boiling Point 765-767 C

Resources and Citations

  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Chemical & Engineering News, American Chemical Society, Washington DC, 81 (36) , Sept. 8, 2003 Comment: Robert L. Wolke, p. 120
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry # 1583
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 135
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979