The History and Uses of Palladium
Even with its fairly nascent history in the industry—compared to gold or silver—palladium is emerging as a highly desired metal.
This is because it offers more to investors’ palates than base metals. It’s not only visually appealing, but is also highly useful in different types of industries, ranging from medicine to jewelry.
Here’s a brief piece that will make you aware of its value.
What is Palladium
Identified as a silver-white metal, palladium hails from the platinum group of metals. Other relatives in this metal family include iridium, rhodium, and osmium.
Similar in many ways to platinum, palladium is the softest and least dense of the family, with the lowest melting point as a result.
Palladium is resistant to corrosion because it doesn’t react with oxygen, unless it’s heated to a high temperature—over 800 degrees Celsius. This is why the metal doesn’t tarnish or lose its luster at room temperature, making it perfect for making metal wares.
Where is Palladium Found
It’s very rare to find palladium deposits, unlike silver or gold. Russia and South Africa have a shared lead in supplying 84% of the world’s palladium, as production is limited elsewhere. The US and Canada come in second.
History of Palladium
Discovered by William Hyde Wollaston, a chemist, in 1802, palladium was found in an experimental trial while purifying platinum. It was initially marketed as ‘new silver,’ and only later came to be known by its current name.
Since the precious metal wasn’t introduced in the market as a new metal, competing chemists challenged its purity. Richard Chenevix was one such person who denounced the element, calling it an alloy. It was only after the discoverer was questioned on his invention that he came out with his theories and findings.
Soon, palladium hit the market as a cure for tuberculosis. However due to some serious side-effects, it went out of business. During the late 20th century, it became a resource for the automotive industry, being used in catalytic converters, among other use cases.
Modern Uses of Palladium
Apart from being used to make catalytic converters, it’s used for hydrogenation, petroleum cracking, and dehydrogenation.
It’s also used for coating electrodes in multilayer ceramic capacitors that are inserted in laptops and cell phones. This is the second most popular use of palladium, after catalytic converters.
The metal also helps with the purification of hydrogen, since hydrogen can diffuse easily when the metal is heated. It’s also used in carbon monoxide detectors because it can convert CO to CO2.
It’s also useful for making monochromatic prints as palladium salt, that are quite popular in modern photography.
Precious Metals Investment
Palladium can be purchased in the forms of bullions or coins as a safe and lucrative long-term investment asset.
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