Palladium Facts: Read About This Rare Silvery-White Metal | Kidadl


Palladium Facts: Read About This Rare Silvery-White Metal

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Palladium is a precious metal that has a number of essential uses. It is in the same position as the platinum metals in the periodic table.

Palladium was discovered in the year 1802 and purified the following year. It was named after the asteroid Pallas, which was discovered the same year as palladium.

Palladium is most commonly used in catalytic converters of cars. Over the years, palladium has been used in many different ways. Most notably, metal is used to make jewelry. Modern research into palladium seems promising, as palladium can play a key role in sustaining a hydrogen economy.

To know more palladium facts, keep reading!

Discovery Of Palladium

Palladium was discovered over 200 years ago and has been considered a useful metal ever since. Continue reading to know about the history of the discovery of palladium!

During the 18th century, Brazilian miners knew of metal that they referred to as 'ouro podre,' meaning 'worthless gold.' Ouro podre was a local alloy of gold and palladium. However, this was not the source of palladium, and it was successfully extracted for the first time in the year 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston. A year prior, Williamston made a note of the discovery of a noble metal, which was named palladium by him. In 1803, Wollaston purified the rare element and put it up for sale. However, Richard Chevenix, a well-known Irish chemist of the time, challenged Wollaston's claims saying the metal Wollaston had purified was actually an alloy of platinum and mercury.

Nevertheless, William Hyde Wollaston did purify palladium, as he claimed. He did so by dissolving platinum ore sourced from South Africa in Aqua Regia, which is a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid. Subsequently, he neutralized the solution that formed with sodium hydroxide and precipitated the platinum. Finally, he added mercuric chloride, which resulted in the formation of palladium cyanide. Heated palladium cyanide resulted in purified palladium.

In 1805, two years after this achievement, Wollaston finally took credit for his discovery and enlisted the important properties of this metal.

Uses Of Palladium

A number of uses have been attributed to palladium, considered to be one of the precious metals.

One of the earliest uses of palladium was in catalytic converters of cars. Palladium was used to convert harmful gases like carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Hence, this metal was an essential component in the automobile industry.

Initially, palladium chloride was used to treat tuberculosis, but that practice was stopped due to its side effects.

Palladium also plays a role in the purification of gases, as hydrogen is able to diffuse through palladium quite easily. This property is exploited to purify gases.

Chemical reactions like dehydrogenation and hydrogenation are sped up using palladium, so it acts as a catalyst. Some other reactions where palladium acts as a catalyst are the Wacker process, Heck reaction, Stille coupling, Negishi reaction, and so on.

Palladium alloys are also quite useful for humans. This is because the alloy, known as 'white gold,' is used quite regularly to make jewelry. Palladium gold does not cause as many allergies as some other alloys of gold, like nickel gold, and hence, is preferred by both jewelry makers and buyers.

The platinotype printing process uses palladium salts instead of silver to get the desired result.

Some other uses of palladium are in the manufacturing of flutes, surgical instruments, watches, and electronic contacts.

The atomic number of palladium is 46.

Importance Of Palladium

One of the paramount importance of palladium is its effect on the economy. In 2020, palladium rose in price and became even more expensive than gold on the global market.

The demand for palladium has only been on the rise for the past couple of years. In 2020, a total of 231.5 T (210 t) of palladium was produced globally. The leading producer was Russia, which produced 100 T (91 t) of palladium alone. There has been a rising demand for palladium in the automobile industry. However, due to technical difficulties related to palladium production, its production has not been meeting the global demands.

Researchers have estimated that palladium will play a crucial role in the hydrogen economy. This is because palladium can be used to purify hydrogen, in addition to its storage and detection. Palladium can also be used in fuel cells.

The latest research has also led to the creation of palladium-gold nanoparticles, which can be used as a catalytic converter to eliminate carcinogenic perchloroethylene found in water. However, this system is still being tested.

Characteristics And Features

Following the discovery of palladium, most of its characteristics and properties have been deduced. Some of the interesting properties of palladium have been given below:

Occupying the fifth period and 10th group of the periodic table, palladium, one of the transition metals, is a part of the platinum group with other elements like ruthenium, rhodium, osmium, platinum, iridium.

The atomic number of palladium is 46, and its symbol is Pd. Two key physical properties of palladium are its melting point and boiling point. While the former is 2830.6 F (1554.8 C), the latter is 5365 F (2963 C). Out of all the other members of the platinum group, palladium is known to have the least density and melting point.

This precious metal is shiny and silvery-white in color. Palladium is known to be extremely ductile and malleable. Palladium can be easily beaten into thin sheets that are 1/250,000 of an inch. While palladium is malleable, it does become exceptionally strong when it is cold-worked. Furthermore, palladium is not corroded by air and is relatively stable.

Coming to the palladium compounds, they resemble platinum in characteristics. The two oxidation states of these compounds are 0 and +2. Palladium has seven isotopes, some of which are Pd100, Pd103, and Pd107.


Is palladium used in car batteries?

Palladium is not found in car batteries but the exhaust of cars.

What is Palladium jewelry?

Jewelry made of white gold is referred to as palladium jewelry.

Do electric cars use palladium?

Electric cars do not use palladium as of yet.

Is palladium cheaper than gold?

On the contrary, palladium is much more expensive than gold and has been rising in demand for the last couple of years.

Where is palladium found?

Palladium is found in its pure form in Brazil.

Is palladium rarer than gold?

Palladium is much rarer than gold. To be more precise, palladium is 30 times rarer than gold.

What is special about palladium?

A number of reasons make palladium quite special. One of the main reasons is its use in catalytic converters.

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