Introduction

Palladium is a silvery-white metal similar to platinum. Palladium has a lower density and lower melting point than platinum. It is soft and ductile when heated, greatly increasing its hardness and resistance when cold.

This commodity is normally extracted together with platinum. Palladium can also be found during nickel mining. The main palladium-producing countries are Russia, South Africa, the United States and Brazil.  Russia is responsible for supplying 67% of world production of palladium, while South Africa and North America respectively account for 23% and 8% of the commodity. It is estimated that the overall production of palladium is about eight million ounces.

Characteristics

Palladium is a chemical element with the symbol "Pd", and atomic number of 46 (46 protons and 46 electrons). At room temperature, the palladium is a solid.

Palladium is a silvery white metal like platinum, it does not oxidize with air and is a platinum group element of lower density and lower melting point. It is soft and ductile when heated, greatly increasing its hardness and resistance when cold. It can be dissolved in sulfuric acid, H2SO4 ,nitric acid, and HNO3. It can also be dissolved slowly in hydrochloric acid (HCl) with the presence of chlorine or oxygen.

History

William Hyde Wollaston recorded the discovery of a new noble metal in July 1802 in his laboratory specifications and named it palladium in August of that year. Wollaston purified enough of the material and sold it in a small store in Soho in April 1803.

After a hard criticism of Richard Chenevix that palladium would be an alloy of platinum and mercury, Wollaston offered an anonymous reward of 20 pound sterling for 20 grain "on" of synthetic palladium. Chenevix received the Copley Medal in 1803 after publishing his experiments with palladium. Wollaston published the discovery of rhodium in 1804 and mentions of his work with palladium. He revealed that he was the discoverer of palladium in a publication of 1805.

Utilities

In the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, palladium is used as a catalyst for hydrogenation reactions. In the oil industry, palladium is important in catalysis petroleum distillate fractions. The element also can be found in some alloys used in dentistry.

In jewelry, palladium is hardened with a small fraction ruthenium or rhodium, or may be used to decolorize gold, giving rise to so called "white gold".

Markets

Futures palladium contracts are traded mainly on the New York Mercantile Exchange  (NYMEX) and Tokyo Commodity Exchange  (TOCOM).



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