What is Platinum? Origin / Meaning of the name Platinum
The name originates from the Spanish word platina meaning 'little silver'. Platinum was once referred to as one of the 'Noble Metals' which also included Gold and Silver. Noble Metals were so called due to their long association with the aristocracy.
What is Platinum? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Platinum Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Platinum is classified as a "Transition Metal" which are located in Groups 3 - 12 of the Periodic Table. Elements classified as Transition Metals are generally described as ductile, malleable, and able to conduct electricity and heat.Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals.
Facts about the History and Discovery of the Platinum Element
Platinum was discovered by astronomers Antonio de Ulloa and Don Jorge Juan y Santacilia in 1735. However, the first European reference to platinum appears in 1557 in the writings of the Italian humanist Julius Caesar Scaliger (1484-1558) in which he described it as a metal found in South American gold. Sir Charles Wood independently isolated the element in 1741. The alchemical symbol for platinum was made by joining the symbols of Silver and Gold.
What is Platinum? Physical properties of Platinum
Platinum is a greyish-white metal of high lustre, and is very malleable and ductile. It melts in the oxy-hydrogen blowpipe and in the electric furnace; it is harder than gold and is a good conductor of electricity. In finely divided form it has the ability to absorb or occlude gases, especially Oxygen and hydrogen. These gases, when occluded, are in a very active condition resembling the nascent state, and can combine with each other at ordinary temperatures. A jet of hydrogen or coal gas directed upon spongy platinum is at once ignited.
What is Platinum? Occurrence of the Platinum Element
Obtained from platinum ores
Found in a native state and the ore sperrylite
Considered more precious than gold
What is Platinum? Uses of Platinum
Platinum is very valuable as a material for the manufacture of chemical utensils which are required to stand a high temperature or the action of strong reagents. Platinum crucibles, dishes, forceps, electrodes, and similar articles are indispensable in the chemical laboratory. In the industries it is used for such purposes as the manufacture of pans for evaporating sulphuric acid, wires for sealing through incandescent light bulbs, and for making a great variety of instruments. Unfortunately the supply of the metal is very limited, and the cost is steadily advancing, so that it is now more valuable than gold.
Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 5×10-7%
% in Sun 9×10-7%
% in Meteorites 0.000098%
% in Earth's Crust 3.7×10-6%
% in Oceans N/A
% in Humans N/A
Associated Uses of Platinum
Used in catalytic converters for automobiles
Coating missile nose cones
Jet engine fuel nozzles
Medical treatments of cancer