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Platinum is a chemical element with the symbol Pt and atomic number 78. It is a dense, malleable, ductile, highly unreactive, precious, silverish-white transition metal. Platinum is one of the least reactive metals. It has remarkable resistance to corrosion, even at high temperatures, and is therefore considered a noble metal. Consequently, platinum is often found chemically uncombined as native platinum. Because it occurs naturally in the alluvial sands of various rivers, it was first used by pre-Columbian South American natives to produce artifacts.

Platinum Characteristics

Platinum is a lustrous, silver-white metal that is more ductile than gold, silver, or copper but less malleable than gold. It has excellent resistance to corrosion and does not oxidize in air, making it useful for industrial applications and fine jewelry. Common oxidation states are +2 and +4; it reacts with some halogens and sulfur but is generally unreactive. It dissolves in hot aqua regia to form chloroplatinic acid. Platinum is significant in catalytic converters, as evidenced by the 2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded for research on its catalytic properties.

Lustrous, silver-white

Highly ductile


Oxidation states +2 and +4

Nobel Prize in catalysis

What Makes platinum Valuable?
Platinum Uses
Platinum is a light gray metal between silver and nickel, and it’s harder than both silver and gold.
Platinum is valuable because it’s rare and it’s used in many items. Nearly two thirds of the supply comes from South Africa, and Russia is the second-largest supplier.
There are very few North American platinum mines. Even if they prefer to buy gold bars or silver bullion, Scottsdale precious metals collectors might be interested in the following facts explaining why platinum is valuable.

Platinum is primarily used in catalytic converters, accounting for about 50% of annual demand. It’s also used as a catalyst in the chemical industry for producing nitric acid, silicone, and benzene, as well as in fuel cells. In electronics, it’s used for computer hard disks and thermocouples. Additional applications include optical fibers, LCDs, turbine blades, spark plugs, pacemakers, and dental fillings. Platinum compounds are important in chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

Element Properties

Atomic number
Atomic weight
Melting point
Boiling point
Specific gravity
Oxidation states
Electron configuration

1,769 °C (3,216 °F)
3,827 °C (6,920 °F)
21.45 (20 °C)
+2, +4

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