Physical Properties of Platinum

    Platinum is a greyish white silver metallic chemical element that is inert, dense, ductile and very resistant to corrosion. Platinum has a very high melting point of 1,774 degrees Celsius, which is actually higher than that of gold. Platinum is additionally one of the six transition elements in Group VIII on the periodic table, and it is more commonly known as platinum group metals or PMG as well as iridium, osmium, palladium, rhodium, and ruthenium. Platinum is not a common metal, and there is not a lot of it in the world. It has been said that there is only around one millionth of one percent in the earth’s crust. Since platinum is rare, it is a desirable treasure of astute individuals. There is a very small amount of platinum on the earth and it cannot be found in a lot of places around the world. This beautiful metal is thirty times more rare than gold. In actual fact, it is probable that if all the platinum in the world were poured placed together it would all fit into a square of less than twenty-five feet on each side. The case of gold is obviously very different. As a result of the fact that platinum is so rare it makes it exclusive and distinguishing. The symbol of platinum is Pt and its name came from the Spanish word “platina” which means little silver because of the resemblance it had to silver. This metal does not oxidize in air. It is insoluble in hydrochloric and nitric acid, but will dissolve when they are mixed as aqua regia, forming chloroplatinic acid (H2PtCl6), an important compound. Platinum can be corroded by halogens, cyanides, sulphur and alkalis. In the 1590 the conquistadors encountered it and named it “platina”. The Spanish did not understand its value though as they were searching for gold and simply threw it back into the river’s of Ecuador to give it time to “ripen”. Later on in the 1700’s an English metallurgist Sir Charles Wood found platinum in ore samples he discovered in Jamaica. In 1751 it was acknowledged as “the seventh metal known” to man.