Geology Home Page physical geology historical geology planetary gems
Roger Weller, geology instructor
by Michael Starkey
Palladium is a white metallic metal related to platinum. Even though palladium looks almost just like platinum it has many different properties, its less dense, only has a 4.5 on Mohs scale of hardness, and is much less common. The metal can be found on its own along with gold and platinum but is mostly mined out of nickel-copper mines and other olivine rich minerals. Palladiums chemical symbol is Pd and has an atomic number of forty six. Most people have never really heard about palladium but it is used in many modern technologies.
Palladium is used mostly in today’s catalytic converters for emission controls, the palladium can take harmful gasses like carbon monoxide and transform it into water vapor or nitrogen. Over 40% of palladium is used in these catalytic converters but the other 60% is used for jewelry, cell phones, dentists surgical equipment, and of course coins and novelties. Electronics require palladium for capacitors and electrodes. The electronics industry used around 33.2 tons of palladium in one year during the early 2000s. another use for palladium is jewelry, they use palladium to make white gold even though the cost is fairly expensive. Palladium can absorb 900 times its mass in hydrogen making it the best material for hydrogen storage.
When palladium was first discovered it was not considered a precious metal and was worth barely anything at all to us, in fact many people believed it was worthless along with platinum. It was used to make fake gold bullion coins, they would take palladium and coat it with gold to create coins. European scientists were the first in 1751 to classify that palladium was a precious metal, because of its ability to resist corrosion and its rarity. William Hyde Wollaston in 1804 was given a noble prize for creating pure palladium and he named the metal after the comet Pallus or the Greek goddess of wisdom. About a hundred and thirty years later the use for palladium was realized in catalytic convertors in 1970, and ever since they have been finding new uses for palladium.
Stillwater complexes like in the picture above are used to extract ore, there are only a few located all over the world. There is the still water in Africa called the Transvaal that produces 40% of the world’s palladium. Montana’s still water complex and Ontario Canada’s produce 10%. Russia is the other country producing 40%. The mining begins under water on a stope, and the use of remote controlled drills and hauling machines do all the work. Palladium is usually found with platinum and olivine rich minerals.
Palladium is one of the rarest metals in the world, but it is used in so many different ways people don’t even realize it. One day this metal could be responsible for lots of new technology.
Works Cited Page
“Palladium.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wiki media foundation, inc. 19 Nov 12. Web. 26 November 2012 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/palladium>
Palladium.Digital image. Perodictable. N.P., n.d. Web. 27 Nov 2012. <http://www.perodictable.com/Elements>
Palladium. Digital image. Monex Precious Metals, Newport beach California, N.D.Web.27Nov, 2012. <Http://www.monex.com>
Top ten costliest metals on earth. Digital image. Grand Palladium Jamaican N.P. n.d. Web. 27, Nov 2012. Http://newspaper.li/Palladium
Stillwater_Complex_ws.jpg.Digital image. Platinum Today. London, united Kingdom.n.d.Web.27, Nov 2012. <>
“Palladium metal of the 21st century” Stillwater palladium: alliance International, Columbus, Montana. N.d. Web: 27 Nov, 2012. <Http://stillwaterpalladium.com>