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|Atomic Number:||78||Atomic Symbol:||Pt|
|Atomic Weight:||195.09||Electron Configuration:||2-8-18-32-17-1|
|Melting Point:||1772oC||Boiling Point:||3827oC|
|Description:||Silver white transition metal.|
|Uses:||Used in jewelry, containers and as a catalyst.|
History(Sp. platina, silver) Discovered in South America by Ulloa in
1735 and by Wood in 1741. The metal was used by pre-Columbian Indians.
SourcesPlatinum occurs native, accompanied by small quantities of
iridium, osmium, palladium ruthenium, and rhodium, all belonging to the same
group of metals. These are found in the alluvial deposits of the Ural mountains,
of Columbia, and of certain western American states. Sperrylite, occurring with
the nickel-bearing deposits of Sudbury, Ontario, is the source of a considerable
amount of metal.
The large production of nickel makes up for the fact that is only one part of
the platinum metals in two million parts of ore.
- Platinum is a beautiful silvery-white metal, when pure, and is malleable and
- It has a coefficient of expansion almost equal to that of soda-lime-silica
glass, and is therefore used to make sealed electrodes in glass systems.
- The metal does not oxidize in air at any temperature, but is corroded by
halogens, cyanides, sulfur, and caustic alkalis.
- It is insoluble in hydrochloric and nitric acid, but dissolves when they are
mixed as aqua regia, forming chloroplatinic acid.
- The metal is extensively used in jewelry, wire, and vessels for laboratory
use, and in many valuable instruments including therocouple elements.
- It is also used for electrical contacts, corrosion-resistant apparatus, and
- Platinum-cobalt alloys have magnetic properties.
- One such alloy made of 76.7% Pt and 23.3% Co, by weight, is an extremely
powerful magnet that offers a B-H (max) almost twice that of Alnico V.
- Platinum resistance wires are used for constructing high-temperature
- The metal is used for coating missile nose cones, jet engine fuel nozzles,
etc., which must perform reliably at high temperatures for long periods of time.
- The metal, like palladium, absorbs large volumes, of hydrogen, retaining it
at ordinary temperatures but giving it up when heated.
- In the finely divided state platinum is an excellent catalyst, having long
been used in the contact process for producing sulfuric acid.
- It is also used as a catalyst in cracking petroleum products.
- Much interest exists in using platinum as a catalyst in fuel cells and in
antipollution devices for automobiles.
- Platinum anodes are extensively used in cathodic protection systems for
large ships and ocean-going vessels, pipelines, steel piers, etc.
- Fine platinum wire will glow red hot when placed in the vapor of methyl
- It acts here as a catalyst, converting the alcohol to formaldehyde.
- The phenomenon has been used commercially to produce cigarette lighters and
- Hydrogen and oxygen explode in the presence of platinum.
CostsThe price of platinum has varied widely. More than a century ago
platinum was used to adulterate gold and was worth nearly eight times more than
gold in 1920. The price in January 1990 was about $500/troy oz.