Tellurium is a non-metallic element recovered as a by-product of
electrolytic copper refining. It is a member of the sulfur family
and exhibits a number of unique chemical and physical properties.
Asarco produces tellurium at its Amarillo Copper Refinery in Texas.
Stringent quality control procedures assure that Asarco’s tellurium
is uniformly high in quality.
This sheet describes Asarco’s standard products. Asarco is ready to
work with individual customers to provide products that meet
|The largest use of tellurium is as a trace additive in steel to
improve machinability. Tellurium also helps control the depth of
chill in cast iron and is added to lead to increase resistance to
vibration and fatigue. Electronic applications for tellurium
include thermoelectric materials, infrared sensors,
photoconductors, and photovoltaic cells. Tellurium is used in the
rubber industry as an accelerator and curing agent to improve high
temperature properties and in the chemical industry as a catalyst.|
Commercial grade tellurium is produced by Asarco to a minimum
purity of 99.7% and can be ordered in several different shapes.
Tablets come in 1- and 3-gram weights and are packed in 15-pound
boxes. (Tablets contain approximately 4% carnauba wax as a binder.)
Slabs weighing 5 pounds and sticks weighing 1 and 2 pounds are
shipped in 50-pound pails.
Tellurium powder is available as minus 100 and minus 200 mesh (99%
through the mesh) and minus 325 mesh (minimum 90% through 325
mesh), all shipped in 50-pound pails. A typical chemical analysis
of Asarco’s commercial grade tellurium is shown on the next page.
|Boiling point||990 °C(1814 °F)|
|Meltin point||449.8 °C (841.6 °F)|
|Modulus of elasticity, psi||6.010|
Elemental tellurium is not generally considered to be a hazardous
material in typical commercial applications. Under certain
conditions, however, tellurium and its compounds can react to form
toxic fumes or gases. Contact with mineral acids under reducing
conditions can produce toxic gases unless proper precautions are
Containers of tellurium and its compounds should be stored in a
cool dry area. Any accidental spillage should be cleaned up
immediately in a manner that does not create dust. Powders should
Fully effective dust control systems should be operated at all
stages of in-plant handling where tellurium powder may become
airborne. When melted, temperature should be kept as low as is
practical. Protective clothing and NIOSH-certified respiratory
equipment should be worn at all stages where airborne tellurium
concentrations cannot be kept within government-established limits
by mechanical ventilation equipment.
Good sanitary procedures should be followed. Eating, drinking, and
smoking should not be allowed in work areas. Hands and face should
be washed before eating, drinking, and smoking. Workers should
shower and change clothes before leaving the plant. Work clothes
should not be worn home.
ASARCO LLC Commercial Department
5285 E. Williams Circle, Suite 2000
Tucson, AZ 85711-7711 USA
Contact: Rene Bustamante
phone: 520-798-7791 fax: 520-798-7584