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What is Palladium?

Palladium, together with rhodiumrutheniumosmiumiridium, and platinum form a group of elements referred to as the platinum group metals (PGM). Palladium is a lustrous silver-white metal. It has a face-centered cubic crystalline structure, at ordinary temperatures it is strongly resistant to corrosion in air and to the action of acids. Hot acids attack it, and it dissolves in aqua regia. It forms many compounds and several complex salts. Palladium has a great ability to absorb hydrogen (up to 900 times its own volume).


Due to its corrosion resistance, manufacturers use it in alloys for low voltage electrical contacts. When finely divided, it acts as a catalyst and accelerates hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions.

Jewelers extensively use it in jewellery-making, incorporating it into specific alloys known as “white gold.” They may alloy it with platinum or substitute it for platinum. Additionally, it finds application in crafting watch bearings, springs, and balance wheels, as well as in producing mirrors for scientific instruments.

In 1990, most catalytic converters relied on platinum to reduce emissions from car exhausts but, while this metal is still important, palladium is now the main ingredient because this is even more efficient at removing unburnt and partially burnt hydrcarbons from the fuel.

Nowadays, manufacturers increasingly use it in electrical appliances such as widescreen televisions, computers, and mobile phones. They incorporate it in the form of tiny multi-layer ceramic capacitors, producing more than 400 billion units each year. In dentistry, practitioners alloy it with silver, gold, and copper. Additionally, they utilize palladium salts in electroplating.


Brazil contains specimens of uncombined palladium, and some minerals rich in palladium, but most of it is extracted as a by-product from nickel refining.

Moreover, associated with platinum and other platinum group metals, it is found in Australia, Brazil, Russia, Ethiopia, and North and South America, as well as in nickel and copper deposits (from which it is commercially recovered) in Canada and South Africa.

Health Effects of Palladium

The body poorly absorbs palladium when ingested, making it regarded as of low toxicity.

It may cause skin, eye or respiratory tract irritation, may cause skin sensitization.

Liquid may cause burns to skin and eyes. If swallowed, do not induce vomiting, if conscious give water, milk… In case of contact, flush eyes or skin with plenty of water.

Most people encounter palladium compounds relatively rarely, highly toxic and carcinogenic. Palladium chloride is toxic, harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. It causes bone marrow, liver and kidney damage in laboratory animals. Irritant.

Formerly, doctors prescribed it chloride as a treatment for tuberculosis at a rate of 0.065 g per day (approximately 1 mg kg-1) without too many adverse side effects.

Environmental Effects

Ensure that you do not release material into the environment without obtaining proper environmental permits. It exerts minimal environmental impact. It exists at low levels in certain soils, with tree leaves containing 0.4 ppm. While palladium salts at low levels can be lethal to some plants, such as the water hyacinth, most plants can tolerate it, although tests indicate that their growth is impacted at levels exceeding 3 ppm.

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