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Palladium: From Goddess to Secret Metal Its Fascinating Properties and Uses

Palladium: Properties, Uses, and Where to Find It

In the world of chemistry, there are numerous elements that are fascinating and have significant importance in various fields. One of these elements is palladium.

With its unique set of properties, it has been used in different industries, from jewelry-making to the automotive industry. This article will delve deeper into the properties and uses of palladium, as well as where it can be found.

Properties and Characteristics

Palladium has an atomic mass of 106.4 u and is part of the platinum group of metals. It has a melting point of 1554.9°C and a boiling point of 2963°C, which is relatively high compared to other metals.

In addition, it has a density of 12.02 g/cm3, making it one of the densest elements. These properties make palladium a unique and useful metal in various industries.

Chemical Properties

Palladium has four oxidation states, with the most common being +2 and +4. It also has a magnetic ordering of paramagnetic, meaning that it has unpaired electrons that can be influenced by a magnetic field.

This unique chemical property makes palladium favorable in industries that involve magnetic devices and materials.


One of the most significant uses of palladium is in the catalytic converter of automobiles. It helps to reduce the harmful emissions from vehicles by turning them into less harmful gases.

Palladium is also used in dental crowns, as it is biocompatible and has excellent resistance to corrosion. In addition, palladium is a popular metal for jewelry-making, thanks to its lustrous and durable characteristics.

In the electronics industry, it is used as a component in capacitors and integrated circuits. Lastly, it is used as a catalyst in numerous chemical reactions in industries such as pharmaceuticals and plastics.

Where is it found?

Palladium can be found in nature, particularly in Brazil, in its uncombined state.

However, it is usually found as a by-product of other metals, such as platinum, nickel, and copper. It is also present in sulfide minerals, with braggite being the most common.

Braggite is a sulfide mineral found in the Bushveld igneous complex in South Africa. In conclusion, palladium is a unique metal that has numerous properties and uses.

This element has made significant contributions to various industries, including automotive, dental, jewelry-making, electronics, and chemistry. Though difficult to find in nature, the by-products of other metals and sulfide minerals make up for this.

In summary, palladium is a versatile metal that continues to be an essential component in many industrial and consumer products.

History of Palladium: From Goddess to Secret Metal

Palladium is a fascinating element with a rich history that spans centuries.

From its discovery to its applications in various industries, palladium has played a significant role in society. In this expansion, we will delve deeper into the origin of the name and its discovery, as well as how to identify it in the periodic table.

Origin of Name

The name palladium derives from the Greek goddess Pallas Athena, the daughter of Zeus and the patron goddess of Athens. In 1803, William Hyde Wollaston, an English chemist and physicist, discovered the element while he was working with platinum.

He named it after the goddess, as he believed that the metal had similar qualities as Athena, including strength, durability, and beauty.


Wollaston discovered palladium after boiling and refining crude platinum ore with nitric acid. He then subsequently dissolved the residue in aqua regia, a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, to extract the palladium.

The element was revealed as a new metal, and Wollaston decided to keep it a secret until he had further analyzed it. It was not until 1804 that Wollaston announced his discovery to the Royal Society in London.

He called it “new silver” before eventually naming it palladium. The reason for the secrecy was due to the rarity of the element and the potential for it to be more valuable than platinum, which was already highly valued and used in various industries.

Identification of Palladium

Palladium is identified by its atomic number, which is 46. Its chemical symbol is Pd, and its CAS number is 7440-05-3.

It is found in group 10 of the periodic table, along with other transition metals such as nickel and platinum. It has six valence electrons and is located in period 5 of the periodic table.

Palladium is also classified as a d-block element, which means that its highest energy electrons are located in the d-orbitals. Palladium’s position in the periodic table means that it shares some properties with other transition metals, such as conducting heat and electricity well.

It also has a high melting and boiling point and is malleable. However, palladium stands out due to its unique properties, such as its ability to absorb hydrogen, making it useful in hydrogen storage.

Its use as a catalyst in chemical reactions also sets it apart from other elements, allowing it to play a significant role in industries such as pharmaceuticals and plastics. In conclusion, palladium’s history is filled with fascinating discoveries and secrets.

From its naming after the Greek goddess Pallas Athena to its discovery by Wollaston, this precious metal has a rich history. Its unique properties and uses have made it a valuable asset in various industries, making it a crucial element in modern society.

With its identification in the periodic table, scientists and researchers can further explore its properties and applications, contributing to further advancements in science and technology.

Properties and Characteristics of Palladium: From Appearance to Chemical Properties

Palladium is a unique and fascinating element that has a wide range of physical and chemical properties, making it crucial in various industries. In this expansion, we will discuss the general properties, physical properties, and chemical properties of palladium, followed by its toxicity.

General Properties

Palladium is a silvery-white metal that has a lustrous appearance. It is a transition metal with a molar mass of 106.42 g/mol.

At room temperature, it is in a solid-state and has a density of 12.023 g/cm3. Palladium is also a non-magnetic metal.

Physical Properties

Palladium has excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, making it useful in various electrical and industrial applications. It has a thermal conductivity of 71.8 W/mK and an electrical conductivity of 9.17 × 106 S/m.

Palladium also has a specific gravity of 12.02 and a hardness of 4.75 on the Mohs scale. These physical properties make palladium a durable and tough metal that can withstand high temperatures and pressures.

Chemical Properties

Palladium has six valence electrons and is located in the d-block of the periodic table. Its electron configuration is [Kr]4d10, and it has a valency of 2 and 4.

The valency of palladium depends on the oxidation state, with the most common being +2 and +4. The crystal structure of palladium is face-centered cubic, and its atomic radius is 139.5 pm.

Palladium has a relatively low electronegativity of 2.2 on the Pauling scale, indicating that it can easily lose electrons in chemical reactions. It also has a high first ionization energy of 804.4 kJ/mol, indicating that it requires significant energy to remove an electron from an atom.

Is it Dangerous?

Palladium is a non-toxic metal and has no known biological role.

It is not known to cause any adverse health effects in humans or animals. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that palladium is not considered a health hazard and has no restrictions on its use in consumer products.

In conclusion, palladium has various properties that make it an essential metal in various industries. Its physical properties, such as thermal and electrical conductivity, make it useful in electrical and industrial applications.

The chemical properties of palladium, including its electron configuration, valency, and atomic structure, provide vital insights into its behavior in chemical reactions. Palladium is not toxic and poses no known health hazards, making it safe for use in various consumer products.

Interesting Facts about Palladium: From Properties to Cost

Palladium is a unique element that has captured the attention of chemists, physicists, and engineers for centuries. It has numerous fascinating properties, and its cost has made it a valuable commodity in various industries.

In this expansion, we will explore some interesting facts about palladium, from its properties to its cost.

Palladium Properties

One interesting property of palladium is that it does not tarnish. Unlike other metals such as silver, which oxidize and form a dark layer over time, palladium remains bright and shiny.

This property makes it popular in the jewelry industry, where it is used to make white gold or as a substitute for platinum. Another distinctive property of palladium is its ability to absorb large amounts of hydrogen.

This property has made palladium useful in hydrogen storage because it can absorb and release hydrogen quickly and efficiently. It also makes it useful in catalytic converters for automobiles, where it helps convert harmful emissions into less harmful gases.

Palladium is also a critical catalyst in many chemical reactions, such as the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and plastics. Its ability to speed up chemical reactions without being consumed in the process has made it valuable in various industrial processes, contributing to further advances in science and technology.

Palladium Cost

Palladium is a pure metal and is only found in small amounts in nature, making it rare and valuable. Its cost varies depending on the quantity and the current market conditions.

As of August 2021, the cost of palladium is around $2,433 per ounce, making it more expensive than gold or platinum. The bulk price of palladium is even more significant.

According to the International Platinum Group Metals Association, the price of palladium per kilogram was around $60,000 in the early 2000s, compared to $18,000 for platinum and $8,000 for gold. The high cost of palladium is due to its scarcity and the increasing demand for it in various industries.

In addition to its cost, the increasing demand for palladium has also forced manufacturers to find ways to reduce the amount used in various applications. For example, some automobile manufacturers are using less palladium in catalytic converters to reduce costs.

Scientists are also exploring alternatives to palladium in catalysis to address concerns over its availability and cost. In conclusion, palladium has numerous interesting properties that make it a valuable element in various industries.

Its ability to absorb hydrogen and its catalytic properties make it critical in hydrogen storage and chemical reactions, respectively. Its high cost is a result of its rarity, and it’s increasing demand in various industries.

Despite its challenges, the ongoing exploration of alternatives and more efficient use of palladium shows promise in ensuring its continued use. In conclusion, palladium is a remarkable element with a fascinating history and unique properties.

Its applications in industries such as automotive, jewelry, and electronics highlight its importance to modern society. From its ability to absorb hydrogen to its role as a catalyst, palladium’s versatility makes it an invaluable commodity.

However, its scarcity and high cost pose challenges, driving researchers to explore alternatives and improve its efficient use. Palladium’s non-toxic nature and resistance to tarnish make it a safe and attractive choice.

Overall, palladium’s significance in various fields and its ongoing exploration demonstrate its enduring relevance in advancing scientific and technological advancements.


  1. Is palladium toxic?
  2. – No, palladium is a non-toxic element and has no known adverse health effects.

  3. What are the main properties of palladium?
  4. – Palladium has properties such as high thermal and electrical conductivity, a high melting point, and the ability to absorb hydrogen and act as a catalyst.

  5. Why is palladium expensive?
  6. – Palladium is rare and found in small quantities, leading to its high cost due to supply and demand dynamics.

  7. Can palladium tarnish like other metals?
  8. – No, palladium is resistant to tarnishing, making it a popular choice for jewelry.

  9. What industries use palladium?
  10. – Palladium is used in industries such as automotive (catalytic converters), jewelry-making, electronics, and chemistry.

  11. Are there alternatives to palladium?
  12. – Researchers are actively exploring alternatives to palladium in catalytic applications to address concerns over its availability and cost.

  13. Is palladium a valuable investment?
  14. – Palladium’s rarity and increasing demand have driven its value, making it an attractive investment option for some.

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