Why platinum

Why platinum

Why is platinum used in so many industry sectors?

Platinum has very ancient origins; it was already known and used by the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, and by pre-Columbian civilizations. After that, it vanished for centuries, only to briefly resurface when the gold-seeking Spanish conquistadores came upon it. However, they failed to grasp its real value, mistook it for silver and named it "platina", a derogatory term that means "lesser silver", and the name that has come down to us.
It was only in 1750, thanks to Sir Brownrigg who, upon closer inspection, rediscovered its true value and unveiled its astounding features, which have given it an ever-increasing added value over the years.

Platinum and its alloys are used in many sectors: by goldsmiths, in analysis laboratories, in production, in research, in the surgical field, and for cables and electrical contacts.
This broad application scope is largely due to its mechanical characteristics and resistance that, despite the high costs, guarantee yields and performance outside the reach of any other metal.

Pure platinum is resistant to corrosion and air oxidation, even at high temperatures.
Due to its inalterability to air, both at room temperature and at high temperatures, as well as its resistance to most chemical agents (excluding direct water), platinum is used for the manufacture of numerous laboratory apparatus and equipment in the chemical industry (crucibles, thermocouples, resistance thermometers, etc.).
At high temperatures, it is nonetheless liable to corrosion by cyanides, halogens, sulphur and caustic alkalis (lithium oxides and hydrates, sodium, potassium, rubidium, caesium); accordingly, it offers low mechanical resistance when exposed to high temperatures. It is for this reason that, depending on the intended use, platinum is combined in alloys with other metals.
In general, platinum-based alloys resist temperatures above 2000K (over 1,700°C), present excellent chemical stability, resist oxidation, high melting points and shocks; if that were not enough, they are ductile and guarantee good chemical and electrical conductivity.

The alloy selection largely depends on the intended application to which the metal must be submitted; this is especially relevant in the analysis area and, therefore, for the production of crucibles and other laboratory equipment.
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