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Palladium Basic Information

Palladium was discovered by an English Chemist, William Hyde Wollaston he actually discovered two elements, rhodium and palladium, in some ore which had been brought to England from Brazil. More that 90 percent of the current palladium comes from Russia and South Africa with small amounts being found in Australia, Canada and the US.

Palladium actually has many of the same properties as platinum including its resistance to corrosion and its versatile applications in jewelry designs. Jewellery pieces made with Palladium bear the hallmarks of Pd950 or Pd500. It has a chemical symbol Pd and atomic number 46. It is a rare silver-white transition metal of the platinum group and palladium resembles platinum to some degree.

As with gold and silver, this rare precious metal is minted into bullion for investment purposes, and has also been struck into coins. This metal often comes from refiner Johnson Matthey (see links) in strip form ready for coin manufacture.

As well as in bullion in the form of bars and coins, palladium is also used extensively in catalytic converters, dentistry, watchmaking, aircraft parts, surgical instruments and electrical parts.

Palladium is a relatively soft, silver-white metal that is both malleable and ductile. It has a melting point of 2,829 degrees fahrenheit (1,554 Degrees C), a boiling point of 5,100 degrees fahrenheit (2,800 Degrees C), and a density of 12.0 grams per cubic centimeter. One of the curious physical properties of palladium is it's ability to absorb hydrogen gas, somewhat like a sponge absorbs water. When a surface is coated with finely divided palladium metal, hydrogen gas passes into the space between palladium atoms, allowing the metal to absorb up to 900 times its own weight in hydrogen gas.

Interestingly in 2000 the Ford Motor company, fearing a severe shortage of palladium proceeded to buy up all the palladium it could creating a price bubble. When the price fell dramatically in 2001 the Ford motor company lost almost 1 billion US dollars.

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