Cadmium | Descriptions, Properties, Uses & Facts

Cadmium | Descriptions, Properties, Uses & Facts

Exploring the World of Cadmium: Properties, Uses, and Environmental Concerns


Cadmium, a lesser-known but significant chemical element, plays a crucial role in various industries while also raising environmental concerns due to its toxic nature. In this blog, we will delve into the key aspects of cadmium, including its chemical properties, compounds, uses, production, and potential environmental impact.

Chemical Properties:

Symbol: Cd

Atomic Number: 48

Atomic Mass: 112.414 u

Electron Configuration: [Kr] 4d¹⁰ 5s²

Valency: +2

Cadmium is a transition metal that shares similarities with zinc and mercury, residing in Group 12 of the periodic table. Its atomic number is 48, and it boasts a relatively low melting point, making it a versatile element in various applications.

Chemical and Physical Properties:

Cadmium exhibits unique chemical and physical properties:

1. Melting Point and Boiling Point:

Cadmium has a melting point of 321.07°C and a boiling point of 765°C, making it a relatively soft and malleable metal.

2. Density:

With a density of 8.65 g/cm³, cadmium is denser than common metals like aluminum but lighter than lead.

3. Corrosion Resistance: 

Cadmium is corrosion-resistant, making it valuable in electroplating applications to protect other metals from corrosion.

Cadmium Compounds:

Cadmium forms various compounds, and some of the notable ones include cadmium oxide (CdO), cadmium chloride (CdC₁₂), and cadmium sulfate (CdSO₄). These compounds find applications in industries such as batteries, pigments, and stabilizers for plastics.

Chemical Reactions:

Cadmium reacts with elements like oxygen, sulfur, and chlorine to form different compounds. For instance, when exposed to air, cadmium develops a protective oxide layer, preventing further oxidation.

Occurrence and Production:

Cadmium is primarily obtained as a byproduct of zinc production. It is found in zinc ores such as sphalerite. Other sources include lead and copper ores. The extraction process involves refining zinc ores, during which cadmium is separated and purified.

Environmental Concerns:

Despite its industrial importance, cadmium poses environmental risks. It is classified as a carcinogen, and prolonged exposure can lead to serious health issues. Improper disposal of cadmium-containing products and industrial waste can contaminate soil and water, affecting ecosystems and human health.

Cadmium Price:

The price of cadmium fluctuates based on supply and demand dynamics, as well as economic conditions. As of March 2024, the price stands at INR 295/kg, price varies upon supplier and qualities.

Cadmium Powder and Ingot:

Cadmium powder and ingot are forms of the element used in various manufacturing processes. Cadmium powder is employed in battery production and metallurgical applications. Cadmium ingots are utilized in the production of alloys.

Zinc-Cadmium Alloy:

The combination of zinc and cadmium results in a durable alloy with enhanced corrosion resistance. This alloy is commonly used in the manufacturing of bearings and electrical connectors.

Cadmium: Versatile Applications and Interesting Facts:

Cadmium, a transition metal with unique properties, finds its way into various industries due to its versatility. Let's explore some of its key uses and interesting facts.

1. Batteries:

  • One of the primary applications of cadmium is in the manufacturing of nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries.
  • NiCd batteries are known for their high energy density, long life, and reliability, making them suitable for applications like portable electronics and power tools.

2. Pigments:

  • Cadmium compounds are widely used in the production of pigments for plastics, ceramics, and paints.
  • These pigments provide a range of vibrant colors, including reds, yellows, and oranges, contributing to the aesthetics of various products.

3. Electroplating:

  • Due to its excellent corrosion resistance, cadmium is utilized in electroplating to protect other metals from rusting.
  • Objects such as fasteners, nuts, bolts, and even aircraft components benefit from cadmium electroplating for enhanced durability.

4. Alloys:

  • Cadmium is used in the production of various alloys, including those with zinc, copper, and other metals.
  • Zinc-cadmium alloys, for example, are known for their increased resistance to corrosion and are commonly used in the manufacturing of bearings and electrical connectors.

5. Nuclear Reactors:

  • Cadmium serves a critical function in controlling nuclear reactions. It is employed as a neutron absorber in control rods within nuclear reactors.
  • By regulating the neutron flux, cadmium helps maintain the stability and safety of nuclear power plants.

6. Solar Cells:

  • Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is used in the manufacturing of thin-film solar cells.
  • These cells are cost-effective and have gained popularity in the solar energy industry due to their efficiency and ease of production.

7. Interesting Facts:


Cadmium is classified as a toxic element, and exposure to high levels can lead to severe health issues, including lung and prostate cancer.

Symbol Origin: 

The name "cadmium" is derived from the Latin word "cadmia," meaning calamine, a zinc carbonate. This reflects its common association with zinc ores.

Soft Metal: 

Cadmium is a relatively soft metal that can be easily cut with a knife, resembling the physical properties of zinc and mercury.

8. Recycling and Environmental Concerns:

  • Due to environmental concerns, there is an increasing emphasis on recycling cadmium-containing products, such as batteries, to prevent contamination of soil and water.
  • Proper disposal and recycling practices are essential to mitigate the potential negative impact of cadmium on ecosystems and human health.


Cadmium, with its unique properties and diverse applications, is an integral part of several industries. However, its potential environmental impact and health risks underscore the importance of responsible usage, recycling, and disposal practices. As technology advances, researchers and industries continue to explore alternative materials and methods to mitigate the environmental footprint associated with cadmium.

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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