Platinum is a chemical element with an atomic number of 78 and the chemical symbol of Pt. It is a dense, pliable, precious metal with a gray-silver luster. Platinum is one of the rarest elements in the Earth’s crust and is mostly mined in South Africa. Platinum usually contains some nickel and copper ores and is generally non-reactive. It is corrosion resistant even at high temperatures and is considered to be a noble metal. Platinum has many uses in the modern world. Let’s examine some of those used in this article.
Uses of Platinum
- Platinum is used in vehicle emissions control devices (catalytic converters). It is used as a catalyst in a chemical reaction that combusts dangerous exhaust products into carbon dioxide and water vapor.
- Platinum is used as a catalyst in a number of other chemical reactions as well and is particularly useful in the petroleum industry.
- Platinum is being used in the new fuel cell in electric cars as a catalyst that causes hydrogen to produce energy.
- It is also used in spark plugs as the electrode material. This is due to its high level of corrosion resistance.
- Platinum is widely used in jewelry due to it hardness and resistance to rust, scratches and oxidization. It is hypoallergenic and is popular with people who have allergic reactions to gold alloys.
- It is also used in the creation of sensors that are used in a variety of medical equipment. It is also used together with silica to produce thinner optical sensors for thermocouple devices that measure temperature accurately.
- Platinum is commonly used in wires and electrical systems that will be exposed to high voltage or are used in highly corrosive environments.
- It may also be used as the magnetic component in high density hard disk drives and some new optical storage systems.
- Platinum is used in fiberglass construction due to its high density and high melting point. It is resistant to the scratching and corrosive effects of molten glass materials. It has also found a use in the telecommunications industry with the glass fiber optics containing the metal.
- Many items that are used in scientific laboratories are also made of platinum and these items may include electrodes, pans and supports. This is due to its non-reactive nature.
- Platinum is also used in the medical arena. It is used to create pacemakers as it does not corrode inside the body and is hypoallergenic.
- Platinum is also used in a variety of drugs and research is underway to show its effects on cancerous tumors.
- Platinum is used in dentistry fillings and for creating artificial teeth and crowns.
- PtO2 is used as a hydrogenation catalyst in vegetable oil.
- Platinum is an important catalyst in many chemical processes and nitric acid, fertilizers and synthetic fibers all require platinum to be produced. The metal also acts as a catalyst to convert hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas.