Platinum with the atomic number 78 and an atomic mass of 195 in the periodic table is an extremely rare element found in the crust of the earth.
The word Platinum is derived from Platina (Spanish word meaning ‘little silver’), because of its gray-white silvery color. With an availability of 5g/kg in the earth’s crust, it is one of the rarest elements and is highly valuable for the same reason. Although it was discovered relatively later by European scientists, it has been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 1200 BC.
Uses of Platinum
· It is also used in laboratories for electrodes.
· Optical fibres, wires, and pacemakers also make use of platinum for better efficiency.
· Certain compounds of platinum are used in chemotherapy for treating cancer.
· Some watchmakers use platinum in their watches to make it exclusive.
· Because of its stable physical and chemical properties, platinum metal is a very useful metal. Despite its rarity, its application is quite widespread.
· Because of its high stability, platinum is used extensively as a catalyst for chemical reactions.
· The most common application of this is the Catalytic Converter in cars which converts the Carbon monoxide (CO) and other residual pollutants into Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour.
· The high malleability, ductility, and inertness of the metal make it especially suitable for making jewelry. Around half of the platinum extracted every year goes into making jewelry.
Properties of Platinum
· Physically, platinum is a soft, lustrous, silver-colored metal.
· It is highly dense (21.5 g/cc), malleable and ductile (there is an ongoing debate if it is the most ductile).
· It is also highly corrosion resistant and has a high boiling point ( around 1700 degrees Celsius or 3220 degrees Fahrenheit).
· Chemically, platinum is one of the most stable elements in nature.It is often referred to as Noble metal because of it’s high stability.
· It is immune to nitric and hydrochloric acids but can be dissolved by aqua regia at a high temperature.
· It reacts with oxygen and fluorine but at very high temperatures. Platinum has six isotopes that occur in nature- 190Pt, 192Pt, 194Pt, 195Pt, 196Pt, and 198Pt.