Palladium is mainly used in catalytic converters for vehicles and other machines that have engines. The metal acts as a catalyst and aids in the conversion of harmful pollutants in the engine’s emissions to less harmful substances. This ensures that vehicles adhere to environmental standards that limit the amount of pollution that vehicles can produce.
Palladium is also used in the manufacture of multi-layer ceramic capacitors, which are used in electrical appliances such as cell phones and laptops. Capacitors control the flow of electric current in a circuit by storing electric charge and releasing it when required. Multi-layer ceramic capacitors consist of multiple layers of palladium or palladium silver held between layers of ceramic.
The petroleum industry employs palladium as a catalyst in several oil refining processes. For instance, it's used alongside other platinum-group elements in the creation of high-octane gasoline and in the addition of hydrogen atoms to oil and gas products to improve their quality. Palladium’s use as a catalyst extends to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
In industrial chemistry, palladium is utilized in the production of purified terephthalic acid, a chemical that's used in the production of nitric acid and artificial fibers such as polyester. The metal is also used in the manufacture of dental inlays, crowns and bridges to treat cancer through brachytherapy, and in jewelry.