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rhenium foil is a sheet of pure rhenium metal which has been deeply processed with high temperature and high pressure. It has many excellent properties that make it ideal for use in modern power generators and critical chemical reactions.
Rhenium is a rare metallic element that resembles silver in color and has a density higher than any other metal except tungsten. It does not occur uncombined in nature and is obtained from a number of platinum and molybdenum ores as well as by reduction of tungsten sulfide concentrates. It has one of the highest melting points of all the refractory metals and has one of the most stable valences; it does not undergo a ductile-brittle transition, nor form carbides at room temperature.
It is used in filaments for mass spectrographs and ion gauges, as an additive to tungsten and molybdenum-based alloys to increase their ductility at higher temperatures, and in wires for flash lamps for photography. It is also used as a catalyst in the hydrogenation of fine chemicals and for the cracking of petroleum products. Rhenium is very resistant to poisoning by nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus.
It is very similar in chemistry to technetium, so work done on compounds containing it can often be translated to that of the more expensive, radioactive isotope (which has a half-life of 69 days). Rhenium is not easily machined using conventional methods like milling and turning, but it can be machined by ECM, EDM or abrasive cutting and grinding.