Technetium has the distinction of being the first synthetically produced element. It was the last of the six elements predicted by Mendeleev to be discovered (in 1937 by Segrè and Perrier). Trace amounts were found in a sample of molybdenum that had been bombarded with deuterons in a cyclotron.
All known isotopes of Tc are radioactive and none appears to occur naturally on earth. However, it is produced commercially in kg quantities because very tiny amounts (55 parts per million) can transform iron into a corrosion resistant alloy. All applications of the metal involve closed systems, however, because of the radioactivity.
Pure Tc is a silvery-gray metal similar in appearance to platinum but it is normally produced in powdered form. Chemically it resembles a cross between Mn and Re. Although of little interest, compounds have been prepared in which Tc exhibits oxidation states of +4, +6 and +7.
Contributors and Attributions
Stephen R. Marsden