Chemical Fact Sheet


Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 7440-05-3
Analytical Methods 200.8 - 6020
Atomic Symbol Pd

Synopsis from the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 92nd Edition 2011-2013

Palladium (named after the asteroid Pallas, discovered about the same time; Gr. Pallas, goddess of wisdom), Pd; at. wt. 106.42(1) at. no. 46; m.p. 1554.8 C; b.p. 2963 C; sp. gr. 12.02 (20 C); valence 2, 3, or 4. Discovered in 1803 by Wollaston. Palladium is found along with platinum and other metals of the platinum group in deposits of Russia, South Africa, Canada (Ontario), and elsewhere. Natural palladium contains six stable isotopes. Twenty-nine other isotopes are recognized, all of which are radioactive. It is frequently found associated with the nickel-copper deposits such as those found in Ontario. Its separation from the platinum metals depends upon the type of ore in which it is found. It is a steel-white metal, does not tarnish in air, and is the least dense and lowest melting of the platinum group of metals. When annealed, it is soft and ductile; cold working greatly increases its strength and hardness. Palladium is attacked by nitric and sulfuric acid. At room temperatures the metal has the unusual property of absorbing up to 900 times its own volume of hydrogen, possibly forming Pd2H. It is not yet clear if this a true compound. Hydrogen readily diffuses through heated palladium and this provides a means of purifying the gas. Finely divided palladium is a good catalyst and is used for hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions. It is alloyed and used in jewelry trades. White gold is an alloy of gold decolorized by the addition of palladium. Like gold, palladium can be beaten into leaf as thin as 1/250,000 in. The metal is used in dentistry, watchmaking, and in making surgical instruments and electrical contacts. Palladium recently has been substituted for higher The Elements 4-25 priced platinum in catalytic converters by some automobile companies. This has caused a large increase in the cost of palladium. The prices of the two metals are now, in 2002, about the same. Palladium, however, is less resistant to poisoning by sulfur and lead than platinum, but it may prove useful in controlling emissions from diesel vehicles. The metal sells for about $350/tr. oz. ($11/g).

Environmental Fate

Palladium (Pd) is found with platinum, gold, and nickel ores.

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