What is the difference between platinum and palladium?


Quick Answer

Both platinum and palladium are elemental metals, but each has a different atomic number and different chemical and physical properties. Platinum's atomic number is 78, while palladium's atomic number is 46. Both metals are solid at room temperature, and both are silvery white in color. However, platinum's melting point is 1,763 C and palladium's melting point is 1,554 C.

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Full Answer

Platinum and palladium have different chemical properties because they are different elements with different numbers of protons, neutrons and electrons. Palladium has a density of 12.02 grams per cubic centimeter, while platinum has a density of 21.45 grams per cubic centimeter, which means that platinum is the harder of the two metals.

Platinum and palladium also differ in terms of their common uses. Platinum is easily drawn into wires and is often used to make electrodes in glass systems because it is a good conductor. It is also used in catalytic converters, to make jewelry and to power the electrochemical reactions that drive fuel cells. Palladium, on the other hand, is used as a catalyst in dehydrogenation reactions. It is also used to make jewelry; white gold is an alloy of palladium. Some surgical instruments and watches are made from palladium.

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