Tellurium (Te) - Properties, Applications

Topics Covered

Chemical Properties
Physical Properties
Mechanical Properties
Thermal Properties


Tellurium is a chemical element with Te as its symbol. It belongs to group 16, periodic number 5 of the periodic table. Its atomic number is 52.

Tellurium is a silvery-white semi-metallic element that is crystalline and brittle. It remains stable in water or hydrochloric acid, but will dissolve in nitric acid. It is a semiconductor and is often doped with tin, gold, silver, or copper.

Tellurium is obtained from the ores calaverite, krennerite, and sylvanite. It can also be obtained as a byproduct of mining and refining copper. It is produced mainly in USA, Canada, Japan, and Peru.

Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of tellurium are provided in the table below.

Chemical Data
CAS number 13494-80-9
Thermal neutron cross section 4.7 barns/atom
Ionic radius 0.560 Å
Electronegativity 2.1
X-ray absorption edge 0.38972 Å
Electrochemical equivalent 0.99 g/A/h

Physical Properties

The following table discusses the physical properties of tellurium.

Properties Metric Imperial
Density 6.23 g/cm3 0.225 lb/in3
Melting point 450°C 842°F
Boiling point 1390°C 2534°F

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of tellurium are tabulated below.

Properties Metric Imperial
Tensile strength 11MPa 1600 psi
Poisson’s ratio 0.33 0.33
Modulus of elasticity 40 GPa 5800 ksi
Shear modulus 15.16 GPa 2199 ksi
Hardness, Brinell 25 25

Thermal Properties

The thermal properties of tellurium are tabulated below.

Properties Metric Imperial
Thermal expansion co-efficient (@20-100°C/68-212°F) 16.8 µm/m°C 9.33 µin/in°F
Thermal conductivity 1.97 W/mK 13.7 BTU in/hr.ft².°F


The following are the application areas of tellurium:

  • As an additive to steel
  • Alloyed to copper, aluminum, lead or tin
  • As an additive to lead to enhance its strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion
  • For ceramics, blasting caps, cast iron, solar panels, and chalcogenide glasses
  • As an additive to rubber to speed up the curing process, reduce the susceptibility of the rubber to ageing, and to increase its resistance to oil.

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