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Palladium was discovered by Wollaston in 1803. It is found with other platinum group metals in Placer deposits in Russia, north and south America, Australia and Ethiopia. It has also been found in Ontario and South Africa in copper-nickel deposits.

Its ability to be separated from other platinum group metals is strongly influenced by which metals they are.

Key Properties

        Palladium is steel white in appearance

        It does not tarnish in air

        It has the lowest density of all platinum group metals

        It has the lowest melting point of all platinum group metals

        In the annealed state it is soft and ductile

        Cold working significantly increases harness and strength

        Palladium is attacked by sulfuric and nitric acids

        It can absorb up to 900 times it own volume in hydrogen.

        Palladium can be used for purification of hydrogen as it readily diffuses through the heated metal.


        Fine palladium powders are used as catalysts for hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions

        Its alloys are used in jewellery e.g. white gold, which is gold that has been decolourised by the addition of palladium



        Surgical instruments

        Electrical contacts

        Multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC)

        Oxygen sensors

        Brazing alloys

        Catalysts for auto applications

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