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Platinum
Pt
Atomic weight 195.084 u

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Platinum

Platinum

The chemical element platinum is one of the most commonly known – not just in the world of science, but in the world of the consumer. This dense and ductile material has many properties that appeal to different audiences, whether it be cast into an engagement ring or used on the operating table.

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.  Sometimes found in deposits within gold-bearing sands, platinum is mined in Colombia and the Ural Mountains of Russia.

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 jewelry.

The path to the discovery of platinum is not quite as clear as many of the more recently found elements. References to the material in English writings have been found as far back as the early 16th century. It was Antonio Ulloa, the Spanish general and explorer, whose writings about the element in 1748 later fuelled Western curiosity about platinum.  

One of the most underwhelming modern products that platinum appears in – considering its worth - is perhaps the hand warmer! Used in the metal strip inside the translucent pouches, the platinum acts as a catalyst to convert methyl alcohol vapours into formaldehyde on contact – that’s the clicking noise to you and me. The chemicals inside the warmer become very hot during this process, and the reaction can be reversed and repeated.

This reaction is not restricted to keeping people’s fingers warm. Platinum is used extensively in vehicle manufacture in catalytic converters.

Platinum has a wide variety of uses in scientific research, including for weights and measures standards and for electrical contacts and electrodes which need to resist chemical attack. Fuel cells are also one of the most common scientific inventions that require platinum. By stripping the electron from hydrogen to form single protons, platinum is an excellent catalyst in a fuel cell, albeit a very costly one.

Scientists at Brown University, MIT and other institutes are in a race to try to create a more sustainable substitute for the element in fuel cells to make them more readily available scientists and the public alike. So far, Argonne National Laboratory has found a way to synthesize transition metal-based catalysts to work as a platinum substitute, which is much cheaper.

Although the breakthrough of a substitute for platinum in a fuel cell will have dramatic changes in the world of science, there will be little impact of the high-end jewelry market, as one of the largest appeals is the extravagance of wearing one of the world’s most expensive metals. 

Platinum /iridium

An alloy of platinum also used in modern scientific research materials is platinum /iridium. With the chemical stability of platinum and the added hardness of iridium, there are many opportunities for the application of this alloy. 

One of the most common uses of platinum iridium is in the making of micro-electrodes. These are designed for the electrical stimulation of nervous tissue and electro-physiological recordings (the study of the electrical properties of biological cells). With a standard alloy ratio of 90:10 (Pt:Ir), it is drawn out into thin wires that do not bend when inserted into the nervous tissue, as pure platinum wires would. 

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Product line
number
MaterialDimensionsPurityDescription
PT1983Platinum Foil 0.008 mm (thickness) Purity 99.95%Temper as rolled
PT1988Platinum Foil 0.010 mm (thickness) Purity 99.95%Temper as rolled
PT1984Platinum Foil 0.0125 mm (thickness) Purity 99.95%Temper as rolled. Quality NLT (Not Light Tight)
PT1985Platinum Foil 0.025 mm (thickness) Purity 99.95%Temper as rolled
PT1987Platinum Foil 0.050 mm (thickness) Purity 99.95%Temper as rolled
PT1994Platinum Foil 0.10 mm (thickness) Purity 99.95%Temper as rolled
PT1995Platinum Foil 0.10 mm (thickness) Purity 99.99%Temper as rolled
PT1991Platinum Foil 0.125 mm (thickness) Purity 99.95%Temper as rolled
PT1986Platinum Foil 0.125 mm (thickness) Purity 99.99%Temper as rolled
PT1992Platinum Sheet 0.25 mm (thickness) Purity 99.95%Temper as rolled
PT1990Platinum Sheet 0.25 mm (thickness) Purity 99.99%Temper as rolled
PT5401Platinum Wire 0.010 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper hard.
PT5400Platinum Wire 0.0125 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper Hard
PT5402Platinum Wire 0.015 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper hard
PT5403Platinum Wire 0.020 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper Hard
PT5404Platinum Wire 0.025 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper hard
PT5447Platinum Wire 0.035 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper hard
PT5405Platinum Wire 0.050 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper hard
PT5444Platinum Wire 0.050 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper annealed. Thermocouple grade (TC)
PT5424Platinum Wire 0.075 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper hard
PT5436Platinum Wire 0.080 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper hard
PT5437Platinum Wire 0.10 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper hard
PT5406Platinum Wire 0.125 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper hard
PT5448Platinum Wire 0.125 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper annealed
PT5411Platinum Wire 0.15 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper annealed. Thermocouple grade (TC)
PT5415Platinum Wire 0.20 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper hard
PT5412Platinum Wire 0.20 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper annealed. Thermocouple grade (TC)
PT5434Platinum Wire 0.25 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper hard
PT5407Platinum Wire 0.25 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper hard
PT5435Platinum Wire 0.25 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper annealed. Thermocouple grade (TC)
PT5391Platinum Wire 0.30 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper hard
PT5392Platinum Wire 0.30 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper annealed
PT5438Platinum Wire 0.30 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper hard
PT5413Platinum Wire 0.30 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper annealed. Thermocouple grade (TC)
PT5419Platinum Wire 0.40 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper hard
PT5440Platinum Wire 0.40 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper annealed
PT5418Platinum Wire 0.40 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper hard
PT5441Platinum Wire 0.40 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99%Temper annealed. Thermocouple grade (TC)
PT5420Platinum Wire 0.50 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper hard
PT5414Platinum Wire 0.50 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper annealed
PT5408Platinum Wire 0.50 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper hard
PT5410Platinum Wire 0.5 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper annealed. Thermocouple grade (TC)
PT5421Platinum Wire 0.75 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper hard
PT5416Platinum Wire 0.75 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper hard
PT5422Platinum Wire 1.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper hard
PT5442Platinum Wire 1.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper annealed
PT5409Platinum Wire 1.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper hard
PT5439Platinum Wire 1.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.99+%Temper annealed. Thermocouple grade (TC)
PT5430Platinum Insulated Wire 0.05 mm (diameter bare wire) Purity 99.99%Temper hard. Quadruple PTFE Insulated. ~coating thickness 0.0125mm nominal o.d. of coated wire 0.075mm.
PT5431Platinum Insulated Wire 0.075 mm (diameter bare wire) Purity 99.99%Temper hard. Quadruple PTFE Insulated. ~coating thickness 0.018mm nominal o.d. of coated wire 0.112mm.
PT5432Platinum Insulated Wire 0.125 mm (diameter bare wire) Purity 99.99%Temper hard. Quadruple PTFE Insulated. ~coating thickness 0.025mm nominal o.d. of coated wire 0.175mm.
PT5417Platinum WOVEN Mesh/Gauze ~81 mesh per inch Purity 99.95%(1024 per sq cm) wire diameter 0.076mm plain weave, aperture size 0.2mm
PT5425Platinum WOVEN Mesh/Gauze 52 mesh per inch Purity 99.9%(420 per sq cm) wire diameter 0.1mm plain weave. Aperture size 0.39mm. Open area 62.7%
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