Rhodium - the world's most precious metal/@drillagetime
Gold's versatility, conductivity, durability and good appearance place it well on the list of the five most precious metals. The price of gold is over $1,850 an ounce today—impressive, but nothing compared to rhodium, it turns out.
At the time of writing, rhodium is considered the most precious and rare metal in the world, with a price of $10,300 per ounce. So what makes it so expensive?
Rhodium is a chemical element from the transition metals series. It does not react easily to oxygen, making it a noble metal. This means it is a perfect catalyst, resistant to both corrosion and oxidation. Its overall toughness and high melting point of 1,964°F (3,567°C) place it among platinum metals, along with palladium, osmium, platinum, iridium and ruthenium.
Its ability to withstand water and air temperatures of up to 600,1°F (112°C) and its ability to remain insoluble in most acids make rhodium versatile for use in cars, airplanes, electrical contacts and thermal snap wires and high-temperature resistance wires.
Rhodium appears at about 0.000037 parts per million in the Earth's crust, while gold is abundant at about 0.0013 parts per million, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry. Rhodium, produced mainly in South Africa and Russia, can come as a byproduct of refining copper and nickel ores, which contain up to 0.1 percent of the precious metal. About 16 tons of rhodium are produced annually, with an estimated reserve of 3,000 tons.
The discovery of rhodium occurred in 1803 by William Hyde Woolston, an English chemist, who extracted the element from a piece of platinum ore from South America. The finding came shortly after Woolston discovered another platinum metal group, palladium.
Because it is usually found in conjunction with platinum deposits, rhodium was obtained from the Woolston sample by removing platinum and palladium, leaving a dark red powder treated with hydrogen gas to reveal the precious metal rhodium.
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While the solid metal shines a bright and reflected white-silver color, rhodium got its name from the Greek word "rodon" meaning rose. Its name refers to the red color of metal salts.
Despite its rarity and beauty, statistics from 2019 show that almost 90 percent of the demand for rhodium was from the autocatalyst sector in the production of catalytic converters.
The main use of rhodium is in alloys as a hardening material, which is added to platinum and palladium. These alloys have uses in kilns, electrodes, fusion reactors, laboratories and more. Other uses for rhodium: jewelry manufacturing, electrical contacts in electronic components (due to its low electrical resistance), a catalyst in industrial chemical reactions (a rhodium-based catalyst enables the creation of the rare amino acid L-DOPA in a stereoselective reaction) and coating optical instruments (in an electrolysis process, which gives rhodium great strength).
Admit that these are undoubtedly strange uses for one of the rarest precious metals on Earth.
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