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Chemical Elements

Palladium (element)

soft metallic element, transition elements, aqua regia, natural abundance, acetylene gas

Palladium (element), symbol Pd, relatively rare, silvery white, soft metallic element. The atomic number of palladium is 46. The element is one of the transition elements of the periodic table.

Palladium was discovered in 1804 by the British chemist William Hyde Wollaston. The element was named after the asteroid Pallas, which had been discovered two years before. Palladium has a hardness of 4.8. Like platinum, it is ductile, malleable, and resistant to corrosion; it fuses more easily than platinum and can be welded easily. Finely divided palladium is an excellent adsorbent for some gases; it adsorbs 1000 to 3000 times its volume of hydrogen or acetylene gas when heated to 100C (212F). Palladium is dissolved readily by aqua regia. It forms divalent and tetravalent compounds and resembles platinum chemically. Palladium ranks about 71st in natural abundance among the elements in crustal rock. The element melts at about 1554C (about 2829F), boils at about 2963C (about 5365F), and has a specific gravity of 12.02. The atomic weight of palladium is 106.4. The metal occurs in the pure state in platinum ores and in the combined state in Canadian nickel ore.

The chief use of the metal is as a catalyst in automobiles to reduce pollution. It is also used in the field of communications, where it is used to face electrical contacts in automatic switchgear; in dentistry; for nonmagnetic springs in clocks and watches; for coating special mirrors; and in jewelry, alloyed with gold, in what is called white gold.



Article key phrases:

soft metallic element, transition elements, aqua regia, natural abundance, acetylene gas, electrical contacts, periodic table, specific gravity, white gold, catalyst, clocks, hardness, gases, dentistry, jewelry, corrosion, automobiles, watches, elements, metal, years

 
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