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cadmium (Cd)

Term: cadmium (Cd)
Literally meaning: “”
Origin: Anc Greek
καδμεία=ancient name for calamine (zinc carbonate) =a cadmium bearing mixture of minerals > Κάδμος=Cadmus (the founder of Thebes).

The element was discovered simultaneously in 1817 by professor of metallurgy Friedrich Stromeyer (1776-1835) and Karl Samuel Leberecht Hermann as an impurity in zinc carbonate. In the 19th century Zinc oxide was used for a number of ailments.  Hermann had found the new metal in it and had sent samples to Stromeyer, for further examination.  Stromeyer isolated the new metal and had named it Kadmiumin Autumn from the latin cadmia, an older name for the zinc ore calamine (zink carbonate, ZnCO3).  The name cadmia is derived from the Greek κάδμεια γη” meaning cadmean earth (=calamine), zinc ore first found near city Thebes. The city  was founded c.1450 BC by the Phoenician prince Κάδμος, brother of  Eυρώπ (Europe). According legend Cadmus was the first to have found a zinc rock and to notice that it gave a golden tinge to copper during smelting.
  • J.C.H. Roloff, "Zur Geschichte des Kadmium". Annalen der Physik N.F. 31 (1819), pp. 205-210.
  • C.S. Hermann, "Noch ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kadmiums". Annalen der Physik N.F. 36 (1820), pp. 285-289.

Cadmium (Cd) is a chemical element with atomic number 48  and atomic mass 112.411. Cadmium is a white very volatile  poisonous metal and its use is somewhat limited for this reason. The only mineral which contains a significant amount of Cadmium is known as Greenockite (Cds). 

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