One Of The World's Most Precious Metals

Table of Contents (in order of appearance as you scroll down the page)
Basic Facts
General Background
Modern Uses
Environmental Background
Health Facts
Chemistry/ Physics
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Platinum is known as a "Transition Metal". Transition Metals are ductile, malleable, and able to conduct electricity and heat. It also has a high freezing point, and expands upon heating. It a part of the Platinum group metals, which all share similar properties. Other metals in this group are Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium, Osmium, and Iridium. Platinum does not oxidize in air and is often combined with other metals. ( What part of the Periodic Table is the Transition Metals? Here is a picture of where Platinum and other Transition Metals fall on the table:


General background on Platinum's History

Platini, Platino, Platin ( or Platinum, whatever you may call this metal is up to you. But, what is not questionable is the impact in history and modern times that Platinum has had. Although the modern history of Platinum began around the 18th century, platinum has been found in some objects all the way from 700 BC. Platinum was a nuisance for Spanish Conquistadors of these times as little metal nuggets were mixed with the nuggets of gold they were finding, and were difficult to separate. Called Platina, dervied from Plata which is Spanish for silver, Platinum was of no use other than counterfitting for many years. In th 18th century, the scientists of Europe had a hard time working with Platinum as came from the high melting point and resistance to corrosion, which made the characteristics of Platinum very different than those of most elements. Until 1820 Colombia was the only known source of platinum ( Soon after depositis were found in the Ural mountains of Russia, and this sight became the principal supplier for the next 100 years. In Canada in 1888, platinum was discovered in the nickel-copper ores of Ontario. Between time time of theFirst World War and the 1950s, Canada was the world’s major source of supply. Not until 1924 was Platinum discovered in a riverbed in South Africa. Following this up, the geologist Hans Merensky discovered two deposits each of around 100 kilometres in length. These became known as the Bushveld Igneous Complex and its mines today provide three quarters of the world’s platinum output. Platinum production has grown greatly in the last 50 years alongside the growth of necestity for platinum. During the 1960s, demand for platinum in jewelery in Japan, spreading to Switzerland, Spain and then the U.S.

Some modern uses of Platinum

Platinum is used in jewelry, catalytic converters, petroleum, the medical field, spark plugs, fuel cells, gasoline, hard disk drives, anti-cancer drugs, fibre-optic cables, LCD displays, eyeglasses, paints and pacemakers (<>.). Platinum is also the key catalyst used in fuel cells.. Platinum is constantly being found to be useful in all different areas. Today it is estimated that one-fifth of everything we use either contains platinum or requires platinum in its making. The most popular of the uses of Platinum are catalytic converters and jewelry. These two applications consume more than 70% of the world's supply of platinum. Want some examples of what Platinum looks like in use? Look below:

The importance of Platinum in the economic world

Platinum has become essential to the production of about 20% of the consumer goods made universally. Platinum's unique physical properties make many industries dependent upon its use. With many uses, as stated before, Platinum can be found in anything from hard disk drives to anti-cancer drugs to fiber-optic cables all the way down to pacemakers. These products, along with many others, rely majorly on Platinum. One of the biggest contributors to Platinum’s economical success, jewelry is one of the top consumers of Platinum. Known as an investment metal, Platinum is known as "high-octane gold" because of its strong price moves and many uses. Buying platinum is an
easy way to invest in worldwide economic growth because the metal is essential to the economies of many industrialized nations. Places such as America, Australia, Canada, and Asia are all in constant demand of Platinum. But, as Platinum is used in many expensive things such as car parts and jewelry, the worse the economy, the worse the demand for Platinum. Although it is usually in regularly high demand, when times are tough, no one wants to go buy expensive jewelry, so the need for platinum is less overall. On the upside, Platinum is essential for the wide range of products that are being consumed in nations that are experiencing rapid gains in incomes. Thanks to this, in the last decade use of Platinum has hit a record high. In growing markets, Platinum has tended to develops a significant premium over gold. Platinum is apt to be more expensive than gold because it is notably rarer and has more extensive and irreplaceable applications. A final importance of Platinum in the economic world is its application in emerging markets. For instance, Catalytic converter platinum consumption in developing nations is becoming an increasingly important factor for the platinum market. In today’s times most of the world runs on diesel, a fuel that works best with platinum catalysts. With rising issues in the environment, many countries are forming more legislation against pollution. By using a catalytic converter you are reducing hydrocarbons and other harmful emissions, so legislation has been spreading quickly in Latin America. In the past five years the nation with the largest economy in the region, Brazil, and the nation with the fastest growing economy, Chile, have both passed legislation mandating catalytic converter use. Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand all have passed legislation enforcing domestic catalytic converter use before the end of the decade. All of these countries are both up and coming politically and economically, so the demand for Platinum is a positive thing. By requiring Platinum in all these countries, the investments and necessity can only raise, proving that Platinum is a very smart, useful, and winning economic investment.

Enviornmental Background


Platinum's effects on human health

Platinum compounds are used as a method of curing Cancer. The specific compunds are cell damaging elements that target testicular, ovarian, lung, bladder, head, and neck cancers. The compounds alter the structure of the cell DNA, and can kill the cancer cell. The compounds used to do so are called Cisplatin, Carboplatin and Oxaliplatin. Cisplatin is proven to be a very effective, yet dangerous Cancer treatment. It is effective on testicular, ovarian, lung, bladder, head and neck cancers, but easily damages kidneys. Water must be consumed prior to, during and post treatment with Cisplatin. Carboplatin is a derivative of Cisplatin, which is used to target advanced forms of Ovarian Cancer and small Lung Cancer cells. Most of the side effects are much more mild, but Carboplatin destroys bone marrow more than Cisplatin would. It also damages the liver, ears, and unbalances electrolyte levels. Hair loss is rare, but may happen. Oxaliplatin is more effective in treating Cancers that Cisplatin does not, but treats them in a similar manner. It is used to destroy remaining cancer cells in Colon Cancer treatment, after the majority of the cell destruction. However, the side effects include many of the two compounds prior and include the risk of pulmonary fibrosis. Platinum as a pure element has little to no effects on human health. Platinum salts are a risk to health, and overexposure can result in effects such as the above, cause allergic reactions involving the skin and mucus membrane, and can actually cause cancers.

The chemistry/physics of Platinum

Platinum has an atomic number of 78, an average atomic mass of 195.078, a density of 21.45 g/cm3, and one valence electron. It has a melting point of 1772.0 °C and a boiling point of 3827.0 °C. It is classified as a transition metal, and has a cubic crystal structure. This element has 6 energy levels, and fills the first four (
Screen_shot_2011-01-03_at_5.49.49_PM.png Screen_shot_2011-01-03_at_6.06.42_PM.pngTo the left, you will see a list of the isotopes of Platinum and their half-lives. On the right, there is a diagram of the electron filling of a Platinum atom. The 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d, 5p, 6s and 4f levels are filled, and the 5d level has six paired electrons and two unpaired electrons. Platinum is contained in many compounds, many of which are crystalline. Some of them include Platinum Tetraflouride, Platinum Tribromide, Platinum (II) Iodide and Platinum Dioxide.


Platinum fun facts!

  • It is one of the classiest of credit cards, with the exception of the black ones!
  • All of the Platinum ever mined would fit in the average size living room.
  • As with all precious metals, Platinum can be scratched. However, with Platinum, there is actually no material lost from the scratch as there is with Gold.
  • The only material suitable for the electrode in heart pacemakers is platinum.
  • There is no platinum in a platinum record; it's only plastic dipped in silver.