The Discovery of Palladium: Did You Know?

The Discovery of Palladium - Did You Know?
Jan 14, 2020

Palladium has gained attention in recent times due to high demand for the metal to be used in catalytic convertors. However, the history of the metal stretches back further. From the secretive nature of its discovery and original billing as “the new silver”, to its early applications, the story of palladium is as rich as the metal itself.

Gold in Dentistry: Did You Know? – Video Transcription

Narrator:              00:05
The precious metal palladium was discovered by scientist William Hyde Wollaston in 1802. Wollaston was born into a wealthy family of intellectuals with 16 siblings and attended Cambridge University. His passion in chemistry led him to experiment with platinum ore. He and his partner, Smithson Tennant created a lucrative business selling refined platinum. Through his experiments, Wollaston discovered two new metals as byproducts of platinum. Palladium, named after the asteroid Pallas and rhodium. Instead of announcing this discovery, Wollaston marketed palladium anonymously as “New Silver” in the upscale region of Soho in London, this attracted the attention of the skeptical chemist, Richard Chenevix. Who claimed “New Silver” to be simply an alloy of platinum and mercury. Remaining anonymous Wollaston responded by offering a reward of 20 pounds to anyone who could synthesize palladium. Consistent failures to fulfill Wollaston's challenge convinced the scientific community that a new metal was indeed discovered. Wollaston hesitated to reveal himself as responsible for the discovery of palladium until 1805. He continued to make contributions to chemistry and created inventions in many fields of science. Palladium didn't see a boom until the 1990s, when the auto industry began using it in catalytic converters to purify gas emissions. It was also used in electronics, medical tools and jewelry. Because of its varied uses and scarcity, Palladium's value skyrocketed in recent months. If you're interested in learning more about palladium or other precious metals, please call the number on your screen or click the link below.


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