Platinum has a wide range of uses, including jewelry, catalytic converters, electrical contacts, pacemakers, drugs and magnets. But how much do you really know about this “noble metal?”
- Platinum is rare — there are only about 5 parts per billion by weight in Earth’s crust.
- Platinum is extremely resistant to tarnishing and corrosion, for which it is known as a “noble metal.”
- Platinum is one of the transition metals, a group that includes gold, silver, copper and titanium.
- Platinum is one of the densest elements at 12.4 ounces per cubic inch, a little more than 21 times the density of water or 6 times the density of a diamond.
- Atomic number (number of protons in the nucleus): 78
- Atomic symbol (on the periodic table of elements): Pt
- Atomic weight (average mass of the atom): 195.1
- Number of natural isotopes: 6. There are also 37 artificial isotopes.
- Artificially radioactive isotopes of platinum have been produced. These isotopes are produced when very small particles are fired at atoms. No radioactive isotope of platinum has any commercial application.
- Most common isotopes: Pt-195 (33.83% of natural abundance), Pt-194 (32.97% of natural abundance), Pt-196 (25.24% of natural abundance), Pt-198 (7.16% of natural abundance), Pt-192 (0.78% of natural abundance), Pt-190 (0.01% of natural abundance)
- Platinum, iridium, osmium, palladium, ruthenium, and rhodium are all members of the same group of metals (called the platinum metals) and share similar properties.
- Because platinum and other platinum metals usually aren’t found in large amounts, they are often byproducts from mining other metals.
- Ten tons of ore and a five month process is needed to generate one ounce of Platinum Bullion.
- As with all precious metals (Gold, Silver, etc.), Platinum can be scratched. However, with Platinum, there is actually no material lost from the scratch as there is with Gold.
- Platinum forms chloroplatinic acid when dissolved in aqua regia but it cannot be dissolved with either hydrochloric or nitric acids.
- An unusual property of platinum is that it will absorb large quantities of hydrogen gas at high temperatures. The platinum soaks up hydrogen the way a sponge soaks up water.
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