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Is Ruthenium Jewelry Dangerous?

In this video we explore whether ruthenium jewelry is safe by seeing how it reacts with the common household chemical bleach.

It’s well known that ruthenium is a highly resilient metal capable of withstanding chemical attack by very corrosive acids like nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, aqua regia, etc. So it would be make sense to fashion jewelry out of such a resistant substance. But ruthenium is highly susceptible to attack by sodium hypochlorite. To test this we immerse a ruthenium plated ring into household bleach. Unfortunately the ruthenium plating very clearly dissolves off within minutes, producing sodium ruthenate and peruthenate salts as well as bubbles of ruthenium tetroxide gas.

Since these substances are highly toxic. And bleach is a commonly encountered substance in everyday life, it is recommended to discontinue use of ruthenium for jewelry.

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#ruthenium #bleach #safety