Metals and Nonmetals


Platinum is a metal of the platinum group of elements and group 10 of the periodic table of elements. It corresponds to period 6. Platinum consists of six present isotopes. It’s one among the rarer elements in the crust, with a mean abundance of roughly 5 μg/kg. Platinum is an element with the symbol Pt and number 78. It’s a precious, silverish-white transition metal.



What is Platinum?

Among the metals, platinum is one of the smallest reactive metals. It is highly resistant to corrosion, even at high temperatures, and is therefore a metallic element. Consequently, platinum is usually found chemically uncombined as native platinum. It occurs in some nickel and copper ores alongside some native deposits, mostly in South Africa, which accounts for 80% of the planet production. As platinum occurs naturally within the alluvial sands of varied rivers, pre-Columbian South American natives were the first to use it to make artefacts.

Platinum is in use for catalytic converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts and electrodes, platinum resistance thermometers, dentistry equipment, and jewellery. Being an important metal, it results in health problems upon exposure to its salts; but thanks to its corrosion resistance, metallic platinum has not been linked to adverse health effects. Compounds containing platinum, like cisplatin, oxaliplatin and carboplatin, are also in use in chemotherapy against certain sorts of cancer.

History of Platinum

Archaeologists have found traces of platinum within the gold that have been in use in the ancient Egyptian burials as early as 1200 BC. The metal has been employed by pre-Columbian Americans near modern-day Esmeraldas, Ecuador to supply artefacts of a white gold-platinum alloy. To figure the metal, they did combine gold and platinum powders by the sintering process. The resulting alloy is thus soft enough to shape with tools. The platinum in use in such objects isn’t the pure element but a mixture of the group metal, with small amounts of rhodium, palladium, and iridium.

European discovery: The primary ever reference about platinum we see in European culture is within the writings of the Italian humanist Caesar Scaliger in 1557. The writing has an outline of an unknown metallic element found between Darién and Mexico, “which no fire nor any Spanish artifice has yet been ready to liquefy”. Antonio de Ulloa is credited in European history as the inventor of platinum. In 1748, Antonio de Ulloa laid the formation of the primary mineralogy lab in Spain and has been the primary to systematically study platinum. In 1752, Henrik Scheffer naming it “white gold”.

Characteristics of Platinum


  1.  We can see pure platinum as a lustrous, ductile, and malleable metal.
  2. It is silver-white in colour. Platinum has more ductile strength than silver, gold or copper, thus being the foremost ductile of pure metals.
  3. It is corrosion resistant, and is stable at high temperatures and has stable electrical properties.
  4. Platinum does oxidize, forming \(PtO_{2}\), at 500°C; this oxide is often easily removed thermally.
  5. It reacts vigorously with fluorine at 500 °C to make platinum tetrafluoride.
  6. It’s also attacked by chlorine, bromine, iodine, and sulfur.
  7. Platinum is insoluble in hydrochloric and aqua fortis but dissolves in hot nitrohydrochloric acid.


  1.  The foremost common oxidation states of platinum is +2 and +4.
  2. The +1 and +3 oxidation states are relatively less common.
  3. Although elemental platinum is usually unreactive, it dissolves in hot nitrohydrochloric acid to offer aqueous chloroplatinic acid \(\left ( H_{2} PtCl_{6}\right)\).
  4. Platinum is a kind of soft acid and features a great affinity for sulfur, like on dimethyl sulfoxide \(\left ( DMSO \right )\).


Halides – Hexachloroplatinic acid is perhaps the foremost important platinum compound. Its various applications are in photography, zinc etchings, ink, plating, mirrors, porcelain colouring, and as a catalyst.

Oxides – Platinum(IV) oxide, \(PtO_{2}\), also referred to as ‘Adams’ catalyst’, is a kind of black powder that’s soluble in potash (KOH) solutions and concentrated acids. \(PtO_{2}\) and PtO both decompose upon heating. Platinum(II,IV) oxide, \(Pt_{3}O_{4}\), forms within the following reaction:

\(2Pt_{2+} + Pt_{4+} +4O_{2-}\rightarrow Pt_{3}O_{4}\)


Platinum, alongside the remainder of the platinum-group metals, have been obtained commercially as a by-product from nickel and copper mining and processing. When the electrorefining process of copper occurs, noble metals like silver, gold along with the platinum-group metals settle to the rock bottom of the cell as “anode mud”, which forms the start line for the extraction of the platinum-group metals.

If pure platinum is found in placer deposits or other ores, it’s isolated from them by various methods of subtracting impurities. Because platinum is significantly denser than many of its impurities, the lighter impurities are often removed by simply floating them away during a liquid. The two impurities nickel and iron are removed by running an electromagnet over the mixture. Because platinum features a higher freezing point than most other substances, many impurities are often burned or melted away without melting the platinum. Finally, platinum is immune to hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, whereas other substances are readily attacked by them. Metal impurities are often removed by stirring the mixture in either of the 2 acids and recovering the remaining platinum.

One suitable method for purification of the raw platinum, which contains platinum, gold, and other platinum-group metals, is to process it with nitrohydrochloric acid. In this process platinum, palladium, and gold dissolves, whereas osmium, iridium, ruthenium and rhodium stay unreacted.

Applications of Platinum

  1. Catalyst – Mostly platinum is in use as a catalyst in chemical reactions. It is in use as a catalyst since the first 19th century. Since that time platinum powder have been in use to catalyze the ignition of hydrogen. Platinum is additionally in use within the petroleum industry as a catalyst especially in catalytic reforming of straight-run naphthas into higher-octane gasoline that becomes rich in aromatic compounds. Its most vital application is in automobiles as a converter. It allows the entire combustion of low concentrations of unburned hydrocarbons from the exhaust into \(CO_{2}\) and water vapour.
  2. As an investment – Platinum is a valuable and rich commodity. Platinum finds use in jewellery, usually as a 90–95% alloy, thanks to its inertness. It’s also in use for its prestige and inherent bullion value. In watchmaking, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breitling, and other companies use platinum for producing their edition watch series.
  3. Standard – From 1889 to 1960, the meter has been defined by the length of a platinum-iridium (90:10) alloy bar, referred to as the international prototype of the meter. The quality Platinum thermometer (SPRT) is one among the four sorts of thermometers wont to define the International scale of 1990 (ITS-90), the international calibration standard for temperature measurements. The resistance wire within the thermometer is of pure platinum.
  4. Other uses – Platinum is also in use as an alloying agent for various metal products, including fine wires, noncorrosive laboratory containers, medical instruments, dental prostheses, electrical contacts, and thermocouples. Platinum-cobalt, an alloy of roughly three parts platinum and one part cobalt, is employed to form relatively strong permanent magnets. We can see platinum-based anodes in ships, pipelines, and steel piers.

FAQs about Platinum

Q.1. How can I tell if my ring is real platinum?

Answer – All platinum jewellery has a marking to show its authenticity. One can look for the words “Platinum,” “PLAT,” or “PT” or preceded by the numbers “950” or “999.” These numbers refer to the purity of the platinum, with “999” as the purest.

Q.2. Does Platinum stick to a magnet?

Answer – Gold, silver, and platinum are not magnetic. One must know that if any metal attracts the magnet, then it must be an alloy mixture and not a precious metal.

Q.3. Does platinum wear away?

Answer – Platinum is very durable. Whereas other precious metals, if scratched, lose metal, and thus wear down. Platinum does so at a much slower rate.

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