Weird Metals Found Across the Universe

Weird Metals Found Across the Universe

30th March 2020

We are all used to using metals like iron and steel. Yet, the mysterious world of metals includes some crazy facts and bizarre substances that most people never hear of.

Europium Might Be Made When Dead Stars Crash Together

If you know your periodic table then you know that Europium is element number 63. It is incredibly rare and is never found in pure form because of the fact that it reacts instantly with body air and water.

As well as being one of the most reactive and rarest metals that we know of, it is used in the manufacturing of some of the electronic parts found in certain TVs and in red lasers. Scientists believe that europium is formed when stars collide.

This belief was tested when astrophysicists discovered that two dead stars had collided. This led to the production of enough gold to form 50 Earths and enough platinum for 500 Earths. It might also have produced up to 5 Earths’ worth of europium.

Ruthenium Might Help Fuel Never-Ending Fires

Ruthenium has the atomic number 44 and the symbol Ru. It is another extremely scarce metal, although it can be very useful in making solar panels and microchips, as well as in the process of refining oil.

It has also been linked to the never-ending fires found in Yanartas, in Turkey. Dozens of small fires have been burning here for thousands of years and used to be used as guides by sailors in ancient times.

The source of these endless fires has long been a mystery, but experts believe that ruthenium in the rocks underneath the fires may be the reason that methane in the area can reach the temperature needed to light up.

Iron Falls as Rain on an Exotic Planet

An exoplanet is a world that is beyond our solar system. These are bizarre planets where the conditions are nothing like those that we are used to on Earth.

One eye-catching example is the recently discovered Wasp-76b. At 640 light years away from us, it is a destination that humans aren’t going to be seeing up close anytime soon. However, scientists have studied it enough to believe that iron rain is one of its crazy features.

This is because one side of the planet is so close to its host star that temperatures are probably over 2,400C, meaning that any metal is vaporised. However, the other side never sees its sun, so it is a lot cooler, allowing the metals in the atmosphere to condense into rain.

Beryllium Can’t Be Detected by X-rays

Using the atomic number 4 and the symbol Be, this rare metal is most used in the aerospace industry and in satellites.

It is 50% more elastic than steel, such as in CE marked fabrications, and has the best heat dissipation per unit weight of any known metal. Over 400,000 tonnes of beryllium ore are thought to exist, mainly in countries like Russia, Argentina, India and Brazil.

Even more interestingly, its low atomic mass and density mean that it becomes virtually invisible to x-rays. Because of this, it is used in radar windows and has also been used extensively in the Large Hadron Collider experiments.