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A spotlight on Platinum

Carli Goodfellow

Platinum is a silver-white noble metal that is more ductile than gold, silver or copper. It has a melting point of 1768.3 degrees Celsius and a boiling point of 3825 degrees Celsius.  

As one of the world’s rarer elements, platinum can occur in many commonly used items, if not replaced by a characteristically similar and more affordable substitute.

Much like the element tantalum and its sister metal niobium, platinum is commonly used today for medical purposes, such as laboratory equipment in the form of trays, containers, forceps and electrodes. Tantalum and niobium work as the best substitutes for platinum with regards to acid.

Platinum is highly resistant to acid and also a non-irritant, which makes it ideal for surgeon’s tools, medical implants and bone repair. Its hypoallergenic properties and near-immunity to dents and scratches explain why platinum is so often the material of choice for expensive jewellery.

Platinum also has a wide variety of uses in industry and scientific research, including;

Catalytic converters for cars, trucks and buses

This accounts for about 50% of demand each year. Platinum is very effective at converting emissions from the vehicle’s engine into less harmful waste products.

Automotive Industry

Platinum-cured silicones are used to coat and protect automotive air bags from their explosive systems. Thanks to the platinum treatment, these air bags remain stable and can be kept folded and packed for long durations without deteriorating. Additionally, the air bags contain an initiator sensor, which uses a fine platinum wire coated with explosive material to facilitate release of the air bag.

Personal Hygiene Products

Platinum-cured silicone mixtures are used in a range of personal care products from lipsticks and shampoos to contact lenses.

Medical Applications

Demand from the medical industry is growing as platinum can be used for both its conductive properties in pacemakers' electrodes, as well as aural and retinal implants, and for its anti-cancer properties in drugs. Cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin are platinum-based drugs that are widely used in cancer chemotherapy. Platinum–DNA adducts, which are formed following uptake of the drug into the nucleus of cells, activate several cellular processes that mediate the cytotoxicity of these platinum drugs.


Platinum jewellery demand was forecast to account for roughly 25% of total platinum demand in 2006 (down from 50% in 2000). High and volatile prices have adversely affected purchases of platinum across the major regions, particularly China.

This precious metal is highly valued for its beauty and purity together with its particular properties. Although in Europe and USA the normal purity is 95%, in certain countries the purity may be down to 85%. Platinum colour, strength, hardness and resistance to tarnish are some of the advantages of this metal in jewellery. It provides a secure setting for diamonds and other gemstones, enhancing their brilliance. Moreover, its flexibility is an important element for jewellery designers. Platinum jewellery is regarded as the precious metal for the "New Millennium". Source:

Hard Disks

Platinum is used in the production of hard disk drive coatings and fiber optic cables. The increasing number of personal computers will have a positive effect on platinum demand in the future.The hard drive is the component of the computer where data is stored. Each drive contains one or more platters or disks where data is stored on the magnetic surfaces. The amount of data that can be recorded on a given surface depends very much on the strength of the magnetic field generated by the surface layer. Source:


Platinum is used in glassmaking equipment. It is used in the manufacturing of fiberglass reinforced plastic and of glass for liquid crystal displays (LCD). In this context, some new developments in the production of LCD glass and cathode ray tubes, both used in computer screens should be mentioned. Source:

Advent Research Materials are a leading supplier of Platinum (Pt) in multiple forms including Platinum foil, Platinum wire, insulated wire, Platinum sheet and woven mesh/gauze. To see our full range please visit the product page

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