What is Platinum

What is Platinum
Platinum is a silvery-white, lustrous metallic element in the third series of transition elements in the periodic system with the symbol "Pt". Its name derives from Spanish expression for silver - la plata because of its appearance which greatly resembles silver.

In contrary to silver and gold which are highly prized metals since the ancient times, platinum was for a long time very inexpensive and was considered worthless until it was discovered that it is very rare metal and that it is resistant against moisture, oxygen and ordinary acids.

Platinum was first discovered by Spanish Conquistadors in Columbia in the 16th century, however, the metal was known and used already by pre-Columbian Native Americans. When the Spanish first found platinum they considered it as impurity in silver they were mining, while the modern knowledge of platinum is accredited to Spanish general, explorer, astronomer and first Spanish governor of Louisiana - Antonio de Ulloa who reported over existence of platinum in Southern America about 1735 while he was on expedition in Peru.

Platinum as a pure metal is ductile and malleable, however, it is found in nature alloyed with other metals. Thus development of method for processing platinum ore by English chemist and physicist William Hyde Wollaston in 1803 was crucial for platinum's commercial uses and for its malleability.

Today platinum is considered more valuable than gold and is usually twice the price of gold. It has many uses, however, it is primally used as a catalyst in automotive industry - about 60% of its yearly production.


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