Uses & Benefits
Cadmium metal helps produce batteries, particularly rechargeable nickel–cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries. In everyday applications, nickel-cadmium batteries help power products such as cordless power tools, cell phones, camcorders, portable computers, portable household appliances and toys. Ni-Cd batteries also have extensive applications in the railroad and aircraft industry, for ignition as well as emergency power.
Cadmium pigments help create brilliant yellow, orange, red and maroon pigments in paints and coatings, and are added to plastics to give them color. Artists Henri Matisse and Claude Monet used cadmium pigments to create their well-known works of art, for example. As a pigment, cadmium can stay bright even after exposure to sunlight. Its opacity is especially useful when it comes to tinting plastics, for example in coloring the red bags used for infectious hospital waste and in protecting the PVC cladding on wires and cables against heat and light.
In metal manufacturing and finishing processes such as galvanizing and electroplating, cadmium helps keep metal from corroding.
Cadmium-containing stabilizers are not used in US manufacturing of food-contact plastics. They may be used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used to make products such as window and door frames, water and drain pipes, hoses and electrical insulation. In these applications, they help keep the materials from degrading, for instance from exposure to heat and UV rays from sunlight.