Platinum
by
Adam Dougan

Platinum Nugget
Image Taken From:
http://webmineral.com/data/Platinum.shtml


Introduction
Platinum is a very rare native element that has properties that make it both durable and beautiful.  Platinum has been used extensively in both industry and jewelry. Louis XIV of France claimed that it was the only metal fit for a king.


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Physical Properties
Chemical Properties
History
Localities
Uses
References



Physical Properties
Platinum is a part of the isometric crystal system.  It has a crystal class of 4/m bar 3 2/m and a space group of Fm3m.  Crystals are rare, it is usually found in irregular masses or large nuggets.  Platinum has a hardness of 4 to 4.5, which is very high for a metal, and a specific gravity of 21.45 when pure, to 14 when native.  It is highly malleable and ductile.  It is steel-gray in color with a grayish-white streak.  The luster of platinum is bright metallic.  Platinum has an extremely high melting point of 1,769 degrees Celsius.(6) Return To Top



Platinum Crystals
Image Taken From:
http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/ELEMENTS/PLATINUM/platinum.htm



Chemical Properties
Platinum is a native element with the empirical formula of Pt.  Platinum has a molecular weight of 195.08g.(1)  Platinum is often found with the elements gold, copper, nickel, and iron, and usually associated with the rare heavy metals iridium, osmium, rhodium, and palladium.(4) Return To Top



History
Platinum was not discovered by Europeans until 1557 when Julius Ceasar Scalinger, an Italian scholar, wrote of a hard to melt metal he found in South America.   Specimens of the metal were not sent to Europe until the mid-eighteenth century.(2)  The Spaniard named this metal platina, because of it's resemblance to silver, which in Spanish is plata.(6)  At first, people did not know what to do with platinum, and there were even pots and pans made out of the precious metal.(5)  Platinum was used for wedding rings frequently in the first forty years of the twentieth century, until in World War II, platinum was declared a strategic metal.(2) Return To Top


Localities
Geologically, platinum originates in the crust with ultramafic igneous rocks.(3)   Geographically, platinum is found in many parts of the world.  The major mines are located in Russia, South Africa, Finland, Ireland, Borneo, New Zealand, New South Wales, Madagascar, Peru, Brazil, Canada, and a few localities in the United States.(6) Return To Top



Uses


Catalytic Converter
Image Taken From:
http://www.discountconverter.com/converters/images/8010.gif
The uses of platinum are related to it's high hardness and resistance to heat and chemical reaction.  One of the major uses of platinum is as a catalytic converter in automobiles, which helps reduce pollution.  Another major use is as dental and surgical equipment because once the instrument is sharpened, it will hold its edge indefinitely.  It is also used in lab ware, especially in the case of crucibles.  And, of course, platinum is regaining its prominence in the jewelry world.(4)

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References

1. http://webmineral.com/data/Platinum.shtml
2.  http://www.24x7companies.com/Exploration%20Mineral%20Type/Platinum%20Palladium/
platinum_history_and_jewelry_use.htm

3.  http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/ELEMENTS/PLATINUM/platinum.htm
4.  http://www.minerals.net/mineral/elements/platinum/platinum.htm
5.  http://jewelrymaking.miningco.com/hobbies/jewelrymaking/library/blplat.htm
6.  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=119896&tocid=81566
7.  http://www.discountconverter.com/converters/images/8010.gif


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This web page was created for GO336 at Emporia State University.  Please e-mail questions or comments to Adam Dougan.

copyright 2001 © Adam Dougan All rights reserved.