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            Platinum is one of the much-priced metals. It is increasingly rare and possesses various physical attributes, one being, silvery-white with respect to color. The name “Platinum” is derived from the Spanish word “platina” which means ‘silver. It is also interesting to note that the name is related to the place and time of discovery of the element. The discovery of platinum dates back to the eighteenth century in Latin America. It was described as a strange metal discovered in the midst of Mexico and Panama, and that it could not be melted by fire (Hunt & Lever 127).  However, it has, in the recent times, been put to substantial use in various industrial applications. Some of the countries that contribute to its exportation include South Africa, Russia, Zimbabwe, Canada and the United States of America. Even so, South Africa is the largest producer contributing a staggering seventy percent of the world’s total, followed distantly by Russia with an export percentage that stands at thirteen (Young & Amos 689). Platinum is very rare considering that it is the seventy-second most common element. The only naturally occurring elements are ninety-four in number thus making it one of the most expensive metals. The market value of platinum currently stands at an estimated thirty thousand dollars to fifty thousand dollars for a kilogram. The following discussion gives a detailed description of platinum including its chemical formula, molar mass, physical state, appearance and also its uses.

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 Chemical and physical properties of platinum

            Platinum falls under transition metals in the periodic table. Some of the other metals that make up the transition metals include titanium, copper, silver, and gold. Transition metals have an atomic structure that makes it easy to bond with other elements. Platinum is one of the densest elements (21.45 grams per cubic centimeter) and an atomic number of 78, and is a member of the group VII elements (transition metals) (Griffith 1). Some of the elements adjacent to platinum in the periodic table are iridium (Ir 77), osmium (Os 76), rhodium (Rh 45), ruthenium (Ru 44) and palladium (Pd 46). Collectively they are referred to as the platinum metals or platinum-group elements. One of their conspicuous properties is that they are catalytic in nature. A catalyst is an element that alters the rate of a reaction by speeding it without being changed in the process.

Among the physical properties of platinum include the fact that it is heavy and malleable. Malleability describes its ease of work. Young and Amos (701) adds that it is ductile and has a melting point of 1768.3°C (3320°F) and a boiling point of 3825°C (6071°F). Platinum is also referred to as a noble metal. It does not react, not even with oxygen when exposed to air. The chemical symbol of platinum is Pt with an atomic number 78 describing the sum of protons in its nucleus, and an atomic weight of 195.1. The physical state of platinum at room temperature is solid. The number of isotopes it has in total is six. Isotopes are atoms of an element but having a different number of neutrons. Examples of platinum isotopes are Pt- 195, Pt-194, Pt-196, Pt-198, Pt-192 and Pt-190.

Uses of platinum

As earlier mentioned, a catalyst is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction but remains unchanged in the entire process. That said, platinum is used as a catalyst for a number of chemical reactions one being a catalytic converter in vehicles (Young & Amos 697). It facilitates the burning of hydrocarbon that passes via the exhaust. Nonetheless, the market value of platinum is too high and due to this palladium which is also a platinum group metal is instead used as a catalyst in this case.

            It is also pivotal when it comes to making jewelry and decorating, this can be drawn to the fact that platinum is a very valuable metal with a high market value. It is estimated that thirty percent of mined platinum is used to manufacturer jewelry (Young & Amos 697).  Its alloys are also important; they are used as electrical contacts and in making laboratory instruments. When put together to form an alloy, a platinum and cobalt combination forms permanent magnets that are very strong and durable. Platinum is very unreactive in nature, this, therefore, makes it preferable when it comes to making surgical equipment, dental fillings, pacemakers and various equipment that are inserted into the human body(Hunt & Lever 130). It is not corroded by body fluids. Platinum is also used in manufacturing several anti-cancer drugs. Fifty percent of cancer patients are presently using drugs that contain platinum.

Reasons for choosing platinum

My main interest in platinum was drawn from its association with finer things in life like platinum record albums that often sell more than a million copies and platinum credit cards. Moreover, it is extensively used in manufacturing of jewelries.  Besides, being the rarest and among the scarcest elements, I felt it compelling gain a deeper understanding of the element.


            Conclusively, scientific researchers are continuing to learn and explore more about this precious metal, and various other ways in which it can be used. Its value to the world is immense, be it economically or health wise. With that said, it will no doubt continue being an important element whose uses serve to better human life and health in a number of ways.

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Essays Stock (2024). Platinum. Essays Stock.

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