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METAL INFO
 
All About Gold

Metallic chemical element, one of the transition elements, chemical symbol Au, atomic number 79. It is a dense, lustrous, yellow, malleable precious metal, so durable that it is virtually indestructible, often found uncombined in nature. Jewelry and other decorative objects have been crafted from gold for thousands of years. It has been used for coins, to back paper currencies, and as a reserve asset. Gold is widely distributed in all igneous rocks, usually pure but in low since ancient times. The world's gold supply has seen three great leaps, with C. Columbus's arrival in the Americas in 1492, with discoveries in California (see gold rush) and Australia (1850-75), and discoveries in Alaska, Yukon, and S. Africa (1890-1915). Pure gold is too soft for prolonged handling; it is usually used in alloys with silver, copper, and other metals. In addition to being used in jewelry and as currency, gold is used in electrical contacts and circuits, as a reflective layer in space applications and on building windows, and in filling and replacing teeth. Dental alloys are about 75% gold, 10% silver. In jewelry, its purity is expressed in 24ths, or karats: 24-karat is pure, 12-karat is 50% gold, etc. Its compounds, in which it has valence 1 or 3, are used mainly in plating and other decorative processes; a soluble chloride compound has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
 
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All About Platinum

Platinum is not only used in jewelry, but also in cardiac catheters, dental alloys and surgical pins and has many other uses. Metallic chemical element, one of the transition elements, chemical symbol Pt, atomic number 78. A very heavy, silvery-white precious metal, it is soft and ductile, with a high melting point (3,216°F, or 1,769°C) and good resistance to corrosion and chemical attack. Small amounts of iridium are commonly added for a harder, stronger alloy that retains platinum's advantages. Platinum is usually found as alloys of 80-90% purity in placer deposits, or more rarely combined with arsenic or sulfur. It is indispensable in high-temperature laboratory work, for electrodes, dishes, and electrical contacts that resist chemical attack even when very hot. Known as "white gold," it is used in expensive jewelry and is far more costly than gold. The international primary standards for weight and length are 90% platinum, 10% iridium. An alloy of 76.7% platinum and 23.3% cobalt forms the most powerful permanent magnets known. Platinum has valence 2 or 4 in its compounds, which include many coordination complexes. It and some compounds are useful catalysts, particularly for hydrogenation and in catalytic converters.

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All About Silver

Silver occurs natively and in ores such as argentite (Ag2S) and horn silver (AgCl); lead, lead-zinc, copper, gold, and copper-nickel ores are principal sources. Mexico, Canada, Peru, and the U.S. are the principal silver producers in the western hemisphere.

Production
Silver is also recovered during electrolytic refining of copper. Commercial fine silver contains at least 99.9% silver. Purities of 99.999+% are available commercially. Properties Pure silver has a brilliant white metallic luster. It is a little harder than gold and is very ductile and malleable, being exceeded only by gold and perhaps palladium. Pure silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals, and possesses the lowest contact resistance. It is stable in pure air and water, but tarnishes when exposed to ozone, hydrogen sulfide, or air containing sulfur. The alloys of silver are important.

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All About Palladium

Metallic chemical element, one of the transition elements, chemical symbol Pd, atomic number 46.

A precious, silver-white metal that resembles platinum chemically, it is extremely ductile and easily worked and can be beaten into thin leaf. It is an excellent catalyst for chemical reactions involving hydrogen and oxygen, such as the hydrogenation of unsaturated organic compounds. Because it does not tarnish in air at ordinary temperatures, palladium and its alloys serve as substitutes for platinum in jewelry and in electrical contacts in telecommunications equipment. Small amounts of palladium alloyed with gold yield the best white gold.

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All About Rhodium

Chemical element, one of the platinum metals of Group VIIIb of the periodic table, predominantly used as an alloying agent to harden platinum. Rhodium is a precious, silver-white metal, with a high reflectivity for light. It is not corroded or tarnished by the atmosphere at room temperature and is frequently electroplated onto metal objects and polished to give permanent, attractive surfaces for jewelry and other decorative articles. The metal is also used to produce reflecting surfaces for optical instruments.

Rhodium added to platinum in small amounts yields alloys that are harder and lose weight at high temperatures even more slowly than pure platinum. Such alloys are used for laboratory furnace crucibles, spark-plug electrodes, and catalysts in very hot chemical environments (including automobile catalytic converters). In the industrial manufacture of nitric acid, gauze catalysts of rhodium–platinum alloys are used because they can withstand the flame temperature as ammonia is burned to nitric oxide. A wire of the alloy 10 percent rhodium–90 percent platinum joined to a wire of pure platinum forms an excellent thermocouple for measuring high temperatures in an oxidizing atmosphere. The international temperature scale is defined over the region from 660° to 1,063° C (1,220° to 1,945° F) by the electromotive force of this thermocouple.

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