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The 45th element on the periodic table is the rarest of all elements. Rhodium is a hard, lustrous metal that is inert to acids but not to alkalis.
The metal is used mainly as a catalyst in various chemical reactions and in car catalytic converters where it is used to "clean" exhaust gases. Highly reflective rhodium is also used as a spotlight reflector and as a coating for "white" gold jewelery and various silver objects.
A hard metal, rhodium is employed as an alloying agent to increase the hardness of platinum and palladium. Resulting alloys have important industrial uses. Rhodium also has a low resistance to electricity as well as high resistance to corrosion, making the element effective for use in electric ovens, in the glass industry, and in turbine reactors.
Rhodium has no biological role. However, its compounds stain skin deeply and should be considered highly toxic and carcinogenic.