Precious Metals

Information

Discovered By:

William H. Wollaston

Discovered In:

Britain, 1803

Origin:

Name is derived from Greek name "Pallas", goddess of wisdom.

Color:

Silvery-white

Chemical Symbol:

Pd

Atomic Number:

46

Atomic Mass:

106.420

Palladium

Palladium is a lustrous silver-white metal with a face-centered cubic crystalline structure. Directly above platinum, it is one of the platinum metals in group VIII of the periodic table.

Although it has the lowest melting point of all platinum group metals and is also the least dense, palladium's remarkable qualities make it no less crucial in a number of important applications. Its melting point is still high compared with other popular metals (for example, over four and half times that of lead) and it has high temperature stability and corrosion resistance. The rarest of all PGMs apart from iridium, palladium is also a good oxidation catalyst, and is conductive, oxidation resistant, and ductile when annealed.

But its most incredible property is the ability to absorb 900 times its own volume of hydrogen at room temperature. This makes palladium an efficient and safe hydrogen storage medium and purifier.

Because of its catalytic qualities, palladium plays a key role in catalytic converters and air purification equipment. Its chemical stability and electrical conductivity make it a more effective and durable plating material than gold in electronic components.

Topics

Platinum
Palladium
Rhodium
Gold
Silver

Since the mid-seventies, the automotive industry has emerged as the principal consumer of PGMs. Platinum, palladium and rhodium are used as oxidation catalyst in catalytic converters to treat automobile exhaust emissions. In recent years, jewelry demand for platinum has suffered with the record high prices for the metal, while offtake of palladium jewelry has begun to develop.

Offtake of gold for the global jewelry market continues to grow. Additional demand in electronics and from investors has also expanded. Declining primary mine production and producer de-hedging have supported the metal's price.

Despite lower jewelry sales and dwindling demand in the photographic industry, overall consumption of silver has remained stable, principally due to increased speculative investments and improved interest in electronics.