princeofmanhattan:

Periodic Table rings by Itsno

Precious metal rings. Wouldn’t a full set be fantastic? (You know what to get the Clear Science staff for holidays.)

princeofmanhattan:

Periodic Table rings by Itsno

Precious metal rings. Wouldn’t a full set be fantastic? (You know what to get the Clear Science staff for holidays.)

(via fyeahchemistry)

Precious metals have many practical uses. They are extremely active as catalysts. Catalysts are materials that can make a chemical reaction happen without actually reacting themselves. Their presence is enough.
Palladium is used as a catalyst in catalytic converters found in the exhaust systems of most cars and trucks. One exhaust gas of internal combustion engines is carbon monoxide or CO, which is not only toxic but also makes greenhouse gases much worse. If CO is passed over palladium, it will combine with oxygen in the air and become carbon dioxide or CO2, which is more benign.
Since the reaction happens on the solid palladium surface, making these catalyst particles smaller increases the surface area for the reaction, while wasting less palladium on the inside of the particles. Since palladium is expensive, people have figured out how to make particles of it very small.

Precious metals have many practical uses. They are extremely active as catalysts. Catalysts are materials that can make a chemical reaction happen without actually reacting themselves. Their presence is enough.

Palladium is used as a catalyst in catalytic converters found in the exhaust systems of most cars and trucks. One exhaust gas of internal combustion engines is carbon monoxide or CO, which is not only toxic but also makes greenhouse gases much worse. If CO is passed over palladium, it will combine with oxygen in the air and become carbon dioxide or CO2, which is more benign.

Since the reaction happens on the solid palladium surface, making these catalyst particles smaller increases the surface area for the reaction, while wasting less palladium on the inside of the particles. Since palladium is expensive, people have figured out how to make particles of it very small.

At one time, aluminum was considered a precious metal, much like silver and gold. This was not due to scarcity, since aluminum is 8% of the Earth, making it the most abundant metal, and the third most abundant element. However, the process to separate aluminum metal from its ores and minerals (e.g. bauxite, feldspar) was so difficult that it cost as much as silver.
The capstone of the Washington Monument is made of aluminum, which was at the time a precious metal. P. H. McLaughlin, the master mechanic of the project, is seen above setting it in place.
The Hall-Heroult process, which is the industrial process for producing aluminum metal, was invented in 1886, soon after the Washington Monument was completed. Today we consider aluminum a relatively inexpensive material. A similar discovery will not cause the price of the precious metals to fall, since they are scarce in nature, unlike aluminum.

At one time, aluminum was considered a precious metal, much like silver and gold. This was not due to scarcity, since aluminum is 8% of the Earth, making it the most abundant metal, and the third most abundant element. However, the process to separate aluminum metal from its ores and minerals (e.g. bauxite, feldspar) was so difficult that it cost as much as silver.

The capstone of the Washington Monument is made of aluminum, which was at the time a precious metal. P. H. McLaughlin, the master mechanic of the project, is seen above setting it in place.

The Hall-Heroult process, which is the industrial process for producing aluminum metal, was invented in 1886, soon after the Washington Monument was completed. Today we consider aluminum a relatively inexpensive material. A similar discovery will not cause the price of the precious metals to fall, since they are scarce in nature, unlike aluminum.

We mentioned the precious metals, which are a loose association of elements that are metallic, non-radioactive, useful, expensive, and rare. They generally occupy an area of the transition metals on the periodic table. Location in the periodic table has to do with the numbers of protons and electrons that make up an atom, and elements near each other have similar physical and chemical properties.
Silver and gold fall in the same group (column) as copper, which is Group 11 in the new system (and Group IB in the system most of the Clear Science staff grew up with). Sometimes these are called the coinage metals.
Ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum are collectively called the platinum group. This corresponds to Groups 8, 9 and 10 (or VIIIB).
Occasionally you hear some of these metals called "noble metals" because they are unreactive and resistant to most chemicals. Aqua regia ("royal water") was so named because it can dissolve platinum and gold, which is a difficult task indeed. 

We mentioned the precious metals, which are a loose association of elements that are metallic, non-radioactive, useful, expensive, and rare. They generally occupy an area of the transition metals on the periodic table. Location in the periodic table has to do with the numbers of protons and electrons that make up an atom, and elements near each other have similar physical and chemical properties.

Silver and gold fall in the same group (column) as copper, which is Group 11 in the new system (and Group IB in the system most of the Clear Science staff grew up with). Sometimes these are called the coinage metals.

Ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum are collectively called the platinum group. This corresponds to Groups 8, 9 and 10 (or VIIIB).

Occasionally you hear some of these metals called "noble metals" because they are unreactive and resistant to most chemicals. Aqua regia ("royal water") was so named because it can dissolve platinum and gold, which is a difficult task indeed. 

The other day the Clear Science staff got to talking about expensive things. This lead to consideration of precious metals, which one often thinks of when the word “expensive” comes up. Some of the precious metals everyone knows about:
Gold
Silver
Platinum
But there are others, which you hear about less often: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, rhenium, osmium, and iridium. Gold, platinum, and silver are used ornamentally because of their beauty, like in wedding rings. However, the high cost of precious metals has more to do with a combination of usefulness and scarcity.
There are entire careers for people who keep track of the going price of these metals and buy and sell them accordingly. A recent list of prices can be found on Wikipedia. Notice how at the end of 2009, the price of rhodium spiked past that of platinum to $88,415 per kilogram, making it the most expensive.

The other day the Clear Science staff got to talking about expensive things. This lead to consideration of precious metals, which one often thinks of when the word “expensive” comes up. Some of the precious metals everyone knows about:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum

But there are others, which you hear about less often: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, rhenium, osmium, and iridium. Gold, platinum, and silver are used ornamentally because of their beauty, like in wedding rings. However, the high cost of precious metals has more to do with a combination of usefulness and scarcity.

There are entire careers for people who keep track of the going price of these metals and buy and sell them accordingly. A recent list of prices can be found on Wikipedia. Notice how at the end of 2009, the price of rhodium spiked past that of platinum to $88,415 per kilogram, making it the most expensive.