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Platinum (Pt, atomic number 78), one of the rarest elements in the Earth's crust. Only an ounce of platinum is obtained from 10 tons of ore and only a few hundred tons are produced annually.
Very similar in appearance to silver, platinum is known not only for its lustrous color, but also for its stability, strength, rarity, and density. In high demand as a catalyst, platinum has many other applications in industry, medicine, and chemical research as well.

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Explore our Premion® line of precious metal compounds and pure elements. The minimum purity of our Premion line of products is 99.99% (metals basis). Premion pure elements include: Platinum (Pt), Palladium (Pd), Rhodium (Rh), Iridium (Ir), Ruthenium (Ru), Osmium, Silver (Ag), and Gold (Au).


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The Alfa Aesar™ portfolio of platinum products can be used in a wide range of applications, from emission control and electronics to aerospace and medicine.


Platinum in chemistry 
The most common application of platinum is as a catalyst in chemical reactions. In industry, it is used in: the hydrogenation of benzene to produce cyclohexane, the raw material for nylon; fuel cells for the reduction of oxygen; the production of higher-octane gasoline; the manufacture of specialty silicones; and the hydrogenation of vegetable oils. Platinum and its alloys are used in the manufacture of crucibles and evaporating dishes for chemical analyses. In the research lab, organometallic complexes of platinum are used as reagents for the synthesis of many useful and interesting organic compounds.

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Platinum in electronics
Because of its unsurpassed metallurgical properties, platinum has been used in electrical contacts and in various electrode systems for many years. The microelectronics revolution that began in the 1970s opened up a range of new applications, including: thin film technology (in integrated circuits as silicide ohmic and Schottky contacts and on-chip capacitors, as temperature sensors), thick film technology (as platinum/platinum alloy conductors and in resistance thermometers), and manufacturing (as crucibles for crystal growing, in thermocouples, and in glass-melting equipment for the manufacture of optical fibers).

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Platinum in emission control devices
Records show that in 2014, 98 tons of platinum (about 45% of total platinum mined) were used in emission control devices called catalytic converters which help convert over 90% of harmful elements like hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen from gasoline engines into less harmful carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor. Over 98% of all new vehicles come with catalytic converters.

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Platinum in aerospace
Platinum is used in multiple ways in the manufacture of aircraft engine parts: in the coating of jet engine fuel nozzles and turbine blades used to protect against hot corrosion and oxidation, as a pinning wire to hold the ceramic cores within the aircraft turbine blade during casting, and in aerospace spark plugs and thermocouples. It is also used in the coating of missile cones.

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Platinum in medical devices
Platinum in a variety of forms--from rod, wire and ribbon to sheet, foil and alloy to high-precision micromachined parts--is used to manufacture essential components for a range of medical devices. Platinum’s intrinsic properties such as biocompatibility, inertness, durability, electrical conductivity and radiopacity make it suitable for medical device applications, including pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, catheters, stents and neuromodulation devices.

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Platinum in medicine/chemotherapy
The discovery of platinum's most remarkable and unexpected ability, in certain chemical forms, to inhibit the division of living cells led to the development of platinum-based drugs which are now used to treat a wide range of cancers. The drug cisplatin, along with its successor drug carboplatin have played a vital role in the treatment of testicular, ovarian, breast, lung cancer other common cancers.

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Platinum in agriculture
Platinum-rhodium catalysts are used in the manufacture nitric acid, which in turn is used to produce the ammonia found in many liquid fertilizers for agricultural applications.

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Platinum in jewelry
The least reactive precious metal, known for its resistance to corrosion and oxidation at any temperature as well as for its ductility, malleability and silvery sheen, platinum is commonly used in jewelry. In 2010, 76 tons of platinum (about 31% of the platinum mined) was used in jewelry.

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Some platinum facts
Did you know?

  • Platinum is derived from the Spanish term “platino” meaning “little silver".

  • Platinum has great resistance to corrosion and chemical attack.

  • Platinum is much rarer than gold: All of the platinum ever mined could fit into an average living room.

  • Nearly half of the platinum that is mined is used in catalytic converters, the part of the automobile that reduces toxic gases into less-toxic emissions.

  • Platinum’s durability, inertness and electrical conductivity make it the only suitable electrode material for devices such as heart pacemakers, implantable defibrillators and electrophysiology catheters.

  • The moon and meteorites have a higher percentage of platinum than Earth.

Reference: American Chemical Society (ACS)


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2019 Periodic table

2019 is the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT)! In celebration of 150 years of the periodic table of the elements, we are giving away, for a limited time, a 2019 periodic table/wall planner poster.

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