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Facts About Palladium: Properties and Uses

Fascinated with metals Nithya Venkat enjoys reading and writing about metals present on Earth.

Palladium Metal

Palladium Metal

What Is Palladium?

Palladium is one of the rarest metals on earth, belonging to the platinum group of metals also referred to as noble metals.

A strong metal, it is highly resistant to corrosion and does not tarnish. Sources of palladium can be found in Australia, Brazil, Russia, Ethiopia, North America, South America, Canada, and South Africa.

Discovery of Palladium

Palladium was discovered by English chemist William H. Wollaston in 1803.

He discovered it using the residues left by platinum when it was dissolved in aqua regia and further isolated palladium through a series of chemical reactions.

Note: Aqua regia is a liquid made up of concentrated hydrochloric acid and nitric acid.


Properties of Palladium

Palladium is silvery-white in color and can be molded into any shape easily because it is malleable and ductile.

It does not tarnish in the air, but it can tarnish to a small extent when exposed to moist air combined with sulfur.

Palladium can absorb 900 times its volume of hydrogen. It can keep expanding without breaking as it keeps absorbing hydrogen.

It does not react with oxygen at room temperature but can catch fire when ground into a powder.

Palladium is one of the rarest metals on earth because it is found in 1 to 10 parts per trillion.

Use of Palladium in Jewelry

Palladium is lighter and whiter than platinum and does not tarnish. These properties make it an excellent metal to use for making jewelry.

Since it is very light, the addition of large gemstones for decoration does not increase the overall weight of the jewelry.

Palladium alloys that are developed for jewelry have 95% palladium and 5% ruthenium. These alloys are called 950 palladium alloys.

950 palladium alloys used for jewelry making are white, malleable, lightweight, hypoallergenic, and easy to mold and polish.

What Is White Gold?

Gold is alloyed with palladium to form white gold. In Europe, palladium is the standard metal used to produce white gold because it is hypoallergenic (skin-friendly).

For 18-carat gold jewelry, an alloy of 75% white gold and 15% palladium is used.

The addition of palladium to gold makes gold strong and increases the hardness, elasticity, and melting point of gold.

All the above-mentioned reasons make white gold an ideal metal to use for making jewelry.

White Gold Ring

White Gold Ring

Use of Palladium in Medicine

Small seeds of the radioactive isotope of palladium called palladium-103 are used to treat certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer and breast cancer.

Palladium – 103 Brachytherapy

In this procedure, small seeds of palladium-103 are permanently implanted into the center of the tumor. These seeds keep releasing small doses of radiation over a period of two months.

Depending on the type of seed selected, the radiation lasts for two months to a year.

This procedure does not involve a stay at the hospital. The treatment is done under local anesthesia, and the patient can go home after a few hours.

Use of Palladium in Water Treatment

Palladium acts as a catalyst in the process of purifying groundwater. Contaminants such as halogenated volatile organic compounds, also referred to as VOCs, are present in groundwater.

VOCs are groundwater pollutants in the form of hydrocarbons used as solvents, degreasers, and in the manufacture of paints and adhesives. When these contaminants are not disposed of correctly, they enter the groundwater and pollute it.

Water treatment methods that use palladium for purifying water destroy the contaminants.

The advantages of water treatment methods that use palladium are:

  • very effective and can be done in a short time
  • destroys the contaminants in water
  • water need not be pumped out of the well to be treated

Disadvantages of water treatment methods that do not use palladium are:

  • they do not destroy the contaminants
  • they trap the contaminants in another medium

The problem with these water treatment methods is that the medium that has trapped the contaminants remains and has to be disposed of.

The use of palladium in water treatment is the best method, as it destroys the contaminants instead of trapping them in a medium that still has to be disposed of.

The Royal Balancing Siphon Coffeemaker

The Royal Balancing Siphon Coffeemaker has a metal container that is made of palladium.

It is designed based on the model of the coffeemaker that was used in the mid-1800s in France. This coffeemaker has a metal container and a glass carafe. A Bunsen burner is attached to the bottom of the metal container.

The metal container holds the water, and the glass carafe is filled with ground coffee powder. The Bunsen burner heats the water in the metal carafe, and the boiling water is forced through the siphon and into the glass carafe that has the coffee powder.

The coffee is brewed in the glass carafe. Once all the water is transferred into the glass carafe, the glass carafe tips the balance, the Bunsen burner is extinguished, and the brew is transferred back to the metal container.

Watch the entire process in the video below!

Other Uses of Palladium

Palladium has many other uses, including:

  • catalytic converters in automobiles
  • hydrogenation and dehydrogenation
  • watchmaking
  • making surgical instruments and electrical contacts
  • purifying hydrogen
  • water treatment
  • widescreen televisions
  • computers
  • mobile phones
  • interconnecting cables for high-end audio systems

Palladium is a rare metal and has many uses. It is in great demand by many manufacturing industries. The constant supply of palladium is a big question mark considering the natural resources of palladium are very less.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Nithya Venkat


Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 26, 2014:

tazzytamar thank you and am happy you find my hubs informative.

Anna from chichester on October 26, 2014:

My engagement ring is palladium and I never knew it was a rare metal until now - I'm learning so much from your hubs!

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 19, 2014:

teaches12345 thank you and yes we should definitely be doing more.

Dianna Mendez on October 18, 2014:

Seems like we should be doing more in finding uses for this metal in daily life. Great information to know and share.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 17, 2014:

DDE thank you for reading and your lovely comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 17, 2014:

Hi Vellur you always have such well-researched hubs and choose interesting subjects. Now I know more.Well done on you.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 15, 2014:

rajan jolly thank you and yes palladium is rare and has many uses.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 15, 2014:

Very informative and I guess Paladium since it is rare and is very versatile with its uses should be very expensive as well.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 14, 2014:

AliciaC thank you for reading and leaving a comment much appreciated.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 14, 2014:

Thank you for creating this informative hub about a very interesting metal, Vellur.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 14, 2014:

ChitrangadaSharan thank you for stopping by and the vote up, much appreciated.

Jackie Lynnley you said it right, where would we be without them, thank you.

Faith Reaper thank you for reading, the many votes, tweet and pin. Much appreciated.

Audrey Howitt thank you for stopping by. Palladium is definitely cool!!

esmonaco thank you and am glad you have learned something new here, thank you for reading.

always explorer thank you and am glad you came to know about this cool metal!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on October 13, 2014:

Interesting information.I knew nothing about palladium before reading this. Thank's for sharing...

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on October 13, 2014:

I'm always learning something new here on hubpages. Very interesting and factual. Thanks for the education :)

Audrey Howitt from California on October 13, 2014:

Interesting and cool! I had not heard of this before!!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 13, 2014:

I always learn so much from reading your interesting and educational hubs! I have never heard of this before ...palladium. Fascinating information here about its formation.

Voted up +++ tweeting and pinning

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 13, 2014:

Fascinating information about a beautiful metal. What would the world be without the curiosity of these genus's? Up and shared.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 13, 2014:

Very interesting, well researched and informative hub about Palladium!

We are attracted by the beauty of the jewelry, but rarely do we try to know about its formation, history etc.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Voted up!

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 13, 2014:

Jodah thank you for reading and your appreciation.

Sharkye11 thank you for stopping by and white gold is great for skin.

tobusiness thank you, palladium has many uses and plays an important role in many manufacturing industries.

billybuc thank you for reading and leaving a comment, much appreciated.

Nell Rose thank you, palladium is a fascinating metal. Thank you for the vote up and share, much appreciated.

Nell Rose from England on October 13, 2014:

Fascinating stuff vellur, I never realised that palladium and gold was what made white gold, and the healing and cleansing properties are new to me too, this was really interesting! voted up and shared, nell

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2014:

very, very interesting facts my friend. Thank you for the education.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on October 13, 2014:

Vellur, a brilliant article on a very interesting precious metal. I didn't realized how many of the things we use on a daily bases contains this rare and precious metal . Excellent hub.

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on October 13, 2014:

Very interesting! I didn't know it was used for so many things. I have to wear white gold because I have a serious sensitivity to pure gold. I didn't know it came from palladium. Thanks for teaching me something today!

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 13, 2014:

Very interesting hub Vellur. You are good at this type of research. I knew nothing about palladium before but I do now thanks to this hub. Voted up.