IYPT 2019 Elements 075: Rhenium: Superalloys and making lead-free petrol

Element 75 in our International Year of the Periodic Table series is rhenium. Rhenium is used in superalloys in jet engine parts and is also used in the process for making lead-free petrol.

Rhenium’s main use is as a component of high-temperature superalloys which are used in jet engine parts. Aviation companies are trying to find alternatives to these alloys that use less or even no rhenium. This is because rhenium is one of the rarest elements in Earth’s crust, and is consequently expensive to procure.

Another major application of rhenium is in platinum-rhenium catalysts. A major use of these catalysts is in the process to make lead-free, high octane petrol.

Other alloys that rhenium is used in contain tungsten and molybdenum. These alloys are used in oven filaments and X-ray machines.

Remember, you can keep track of all of the previous entries in this series on the site here, or on the Royal Society of Chemistry‚Äôs dedicated page.