Selenium | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Selenium | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Unveiling the Wonders of Selenium: From Element to Essential Nutrient


Selenium, with the chemical symbol Se, is a fascinating element that holds significance both in the realms of chemistry and biology. In this blog, we'll delve into the various aspects of selenium, exploring its chemical properties, compounds, reactions, occurrence, and production. Furthermore, we'll discuss its crucial role as a supplement, vitamin, and even in the field of software testing as Selenium QA.

Chemical Basics:

Symbol: Se

Atomic Number: 34

Atomic Mass: 78.971 u

Selenium Electron Configuration: 1s² 2s² 2p⁶ 3s² 3p⁶ 4s² 3d¹⁰ 4p⁴

Valency: Selenium typically exhibits a valency of -2, +4, or +6.

Chemical and Physical Properties:

Physical State: Selenium exists in various forms, including a red powder, a black vitreous form, and a gray metallic allotrope.

Melting Point: The melting point of selenium is approximately 221 degrees Celsius.

Boiling Point: Selenium has a boiling point of about 685 degrees Celsius.

Density: Selenium has a density of around 4.81 grams per cubic centimeter.

Chemical Compounds:

Selenium forms compounds with various elements, such as hydrogen selenide (H₂Se), selenium dioxide (SeO₂), and selenic acid (H₂SeO₄). These compounds have diverse applications in industries and research.

Reactivity and Interaction:

Selenium exhibits both non-metallic and metallic properties. It reacts with acids and forms salts, but it can also behave as a semiconductor in electronic applications.

Occurrence and Production:

Selenium is found in certain metal sulfide ores, and it can be extracted during the refining of copper. Additionally, selenium is produced as a byproduct of the refining processes in the petroleum industry.

Selenium in Everyday Life:

1. Selenium as a Supplement and Vitamin:

  • Selenium stands as a pivotal trace element crucial for human nutrition. Operating as a potent antioxidant, it plays a pivotal role in shielding cells against the detrimental impact of free radicals. 
  • Additionally, selenium is indispensable for ensuring the optimal functionality of the thyroid gland.

2. Selenium Powder:

  • Selenium powder finds applications in the electronics industry, especially in the production of photovoltaic solar cells.

Fun Facts:

  • The name "selenium" is derived from the Greek word "selene," meaning moon.
  • Selenium was discovered by Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1817.


From its role as a chemical element with unique properties to its significance in human nutrition and technological applications, selenium proves to be a versatile and intriguing element. Whether as a nutrient supporting human health or as a tool in software testing, selenium's impact is vast and varied, making it a subject of interest in both scientific and practical domains.

Also Read:

Neon | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Nitrogen | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Beryllium | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Hydrogen | Difference between Blue and Green Hydrogen | Hydrogen Fuel

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