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cadmium

cadmium (kăd´mēəm) [from cadmia, Lat. for calamine, with which cadmium is found associated], metallic chemical element; symbol Cd; at. no. 48; at. wt. 112.411; m.p. 321°C; b.p. 765°C; sp. gr. 8.65 at 20°C; valence +2. Cadmium is a lustrous, silver-white, ductile, very malleable metal. It belongs to Group 12 of the periodic table, and resembles zinc in its chemical properties. Like zinc, it tarnishes in moist air. Cadmium oxide, a brown powder formed by burning the metal in air, is used in electroplating; it is also made by heating cadmium hydroxide. Cadmium forms a carbonate, a chloride, and several complex ions. Cadmium yellow (the sulfide) is a very durable yellow pigment used in paints. The major use of cadmium is as a coating that is electroplated on iron and steel to prevent corrosion; it is preferable to zinc for protection from alkalies. Cadmium is also used in so-called fusible metals, which are low-melting alloys such as Wood's metal, used in automatic fire sprinklers and alarm systems. Cadmium is used in alkaline nickel-cadmium electric storage cells, which have a greater storage capacity than an equal weight of lead-acid storage cells. It has also found some use in the control of nuclear reactions, since it absorbs neutrons. Cadmium does not occur uncombined in nature; greenockite, a cadmium sulfide mineral first found in Scotland, is the only commercial ore. Cadmium is obtained principally as a byproduct of the smelting and refining of ores of zinc, especially zinc sulfides, and of lead and copper. The element was discovered in 1817 by Friedrich Stromeyer.

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cadmium

cadmium A mineral of no known function in the body, and therefore not a dietary essential. It accumulates in the body throughout life, reaching a total body content of 20–30 mg (200–300 μmol). It is toxic, and cadmium poisoning is a recognized industrial disease. In Japan cadmium poisoning was implicated in itai‐itai disease, a severe and sometimes fatal loss of calcium from the bones, that occurred in an area where rice was grown on land irrigated with contaminated waste water. Accidental contamination of drinking water with cadmium salts also leads to kidney damage, and enough cadmium can leach out from cooking vessels with cadmium glaze to pose a hazard.

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Cd

Cd • symb. the chemical element cadmium.

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cadmium

cadmium XX. f. †cadmia CALAMINE (XVII).

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Cd (chemical symbol)

Cd, symbol for the element cadmium.

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