Platinum has the chemical symbol Pt and an atomic number of 78. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into “little silver”. It is a dense, malleable, ductile grey-white transition metal.
Platinum has the chemical symbol Pt and an atomic number of 78. Even though it has six naturally occurring isotopes, platinum is one of the rarest elements in Earth’s crust and has an average abundance of approximately 5 μg/kg. It is the least reactive metal. It occurs in some nickel and copper ores along with some native deposits, mostly in South Africa, which accounts for 80% of the world production.
Uses of Platinum
Platinum is used in catalytic converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts and electrodes, platinum resistance thermometers, dentistry equipment, and jewellery. Because only a few hundred tonnes are produced annually, it is a scarce material, and is highly valuable and is a major precious metal commodity. Being a heavy metal, it leads to health issues upon exposure to its salts, but due to its corrosion resistance, it is not as toxic as some metals. Its compounds, most notably cisplatin, are applied in chemotherapy against certain types of cancer. As a member of the platinum of elements, platinum is generally non-reactive.
Platinum exhibits a remarkable resistance to corrosion, even at high temperatures, and as such is considered a noble metal. As a result, platinum is often found chemically uncombined as native platinum. Because it occurs naturally in the alluvial sands of various rivers, it was first used by pre-Columbian South American natives to produce artefacts. It was referenced in European writings as early as 16th century, but it was not until Antonia de Ulloa published a report on a new metal of Colombian origin in 1748 that it became investigated by scientists.