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Five surprising Uses of Platinum

by Olufisayo
Uses of Platinum

Platinum worth is not as high as diamond, but it still is precious. It is a chemical element denoted by Pt. It is of silver colour and was often referred to as white gold because of it being costly. It is dense but soft at the same time. Platinum is easily malleable and is convenient to shape and stretch.

One of its incredible quality is that it does not oxidize, which is why it is unaffected by common acids. Platinum is used widely in ancient times. History had pieces of evidence of its usage in the 18th century. Since this metal is silver in colour, it was initially named as Plantinga, which means a little silver.

Platinum, like silver or gold, is a transition metal, which means that it can be bonded with other metals easily. After osmium and indium platinum has the highest density. Although air and water do not affect it, it dissolves in hot aqua regia, sulphuric acid and molten lava. Platinum is mostly found in South Africa, and Russia is its second-biggest producer. Platinum is a good conductor of electricity, and it also does not affect body tissues negatively.

Uses of Platinum

Platinum is extremely valuable because of its versatility and unique characteristics. Although archaeologists found its use back in 16 centuries but with times discoveries have been made that about its usefulness.

1.         Automobiles

A catalytic converter is an integral part of a car’s engine. In recent times, automobile industries are using platinum for the manufacturing of catalytic converter. A catalytic converter is a part of exhaust and platinum has proved to be a better choice than other metals.

       

Since it does not oxidize quickly with every other material it comes in contact with, platinum in converter converts hazardous emissions into harmless gas of carbon dioxide and water vapour. This not only minimizes air pollution but also help in keeping the environment germ free. Platinum has lately become a desired metal of choice for diesel-run vehicles.

It is more effective in oxidization of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Platinum has the edge over other metals in manufacturing of cars because its melting point is comparatively high. Also platinum does not interact with poisons, such as sulphur compounds as much as other metals do.

The recent wave of awareness in global warming has made a lot of people realize the value of recycling; platinum is one of those rarest metals that can be recycled too. Its malleable quality makes it much easier to shape it in other forms and recycle it. New automobile industries have introduced vehicles with platinum made catalytic converter, which gives their car authenticity and credulity in terms of long-lasting.

2.       Medical

The recent years have seen a revolution in the pharmaceutical industry. From discoveries in medicines to new, different and much effective laboratory equipment treating diseases has taken a 180-degree turn in recent years.

Platinum is used as a material in the manufacturing of a lot of medical devices, such as pacemakers, catheters, stents and implantable defibrillators, including others.  Platinum’s unique chemical, physical and mechanical properties make suitable and desired metal for various medical applications.

       

Other uses in medicine include treatment of coronary artery diseases where often surgeons insert platinum’s made stents in patients’ hearts. Lately, it has been discovered that platinum can be used in treating neurological conditions too. Similarly, platinum made coils are used in the treatment of aneurysms. Platinum being the soft, malleable metal is easily shaped and inserted in the body and is mainly used in treating aneurysms in brains.

Unfortunately, cancer is on rising in the current generation, and it is one of the highly treated diseases. Antineoplastic drugs have platinum agents in chemotherapy to treat cancer. The centre of a platinum atom is joined to two ammonium molecules and two chloride ions. This makes it an effective drug to treat disease.

3.      Industries

One of the premium advantages of platinum is it being less reactive to other metals. This is why it is widely used in industries to improve the efficiency of fuel cells. Automobiles, fertilizers, chemical, electrical all types of industries use platinum in not only manufacturing but also in machines. Another sector that uses platinum is the glass manufacturing industry, and primarily fibreglass is produced once it is drawn through a sieve called bushing, which is made of platinum.

Petroleum refinery industries use platinum to refine different kinds of oils. Petroleum refinery uses platinum as a catalyst for separating low-grade fuel and cracking it into gasoline and diesel. Cotton industries do not use platinum in manufacturing of cotton, but the equipment in industries have platinum made tools in them.\

4.       Jewellery

The ancient use of platinum is found to be used as decoration and for jewellery. The same quality of it being malleable and soft makes it possible to get it moulded into the desired shape. This metal is costly than gold as it is denser in its density as compared to gold. It is rare to find and is actually 30 times more precious than gold.

       

Its colour is light silver and is often confused as white gold. The other reason that makes platinum more desirable and expensive than gold is that it is more durable than gold. Although it cannot be said that it will not change forever, jewellery design in platinum is long-lasting than any other metals.

Elite class and celebrities are often found wearing jewellery pieces made of platinum. Since it is expensive phrases like “platinum status” and “going platinum” are used.

5.       Electronics

Platinum is widely used in many electronic appliances. It also works as an oxygen sensor, in an electronic device to help measure the proportion of oxygen in gas or liquid. Magnetic layers in laptops and hard disks of computers are also made of platinum. Not only computers but other entertainment units such as game consoles, television have hard discs in them.  Cell phones circuits having platinum in them are more durable.

Conclusion

Ever since platinum was discovered, it is being used in various ways. One of its famous usages is the creation of jewellery. It was found that platinum was used in the decoration of Casket of Thebes, which was an Egyptian tomb was dating back to 700BC. Archaeologists have found that pre-Columbian South American used to make and wear ornaments made of platinum.

In today’s age, platinum is widely used in jewellery. It is a rarely found metal that is in deep crust of Earth, which explains the reason for it being costly. However, with new researches emerging scientists are now using it in health and medicines too.

       

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