Specimen of sperrylite: a rare mineral that is the
only native compound of platinum. Photo from MII, courtesy of the
External view and cutaway of a palladium alloy diffusion
cell used for purifying hydrogen. The cell operates at about 400°C
and 30 atmospheres pressure.
Platinum (Pt) is a lustrous, silvery-white metallic element;
a transition element. It was
known to native South Americans before the arrival of Columbus, and was
first taken to Europe in 1750; it is chiefly found in some ores of nickel.
Malleable and ductile, platinum is used
in jewelry, dentistry, electrical-resistance wire, magnets, thermocouples,
surgical instruments, electrodes, and
as a catalyst in catalytic converters in
cars, for the contact process, and
(alloyed with rhodium) for the Ostwald