Precious Metals Used in Industry

Precious metals are most known for their luster, rarity and as being less reactive than other metals. There are eight precious metals in use today, the best known being the “coinage” metals like gold and platinum. However, these metals are also used in industry for a variety of applications. Here’s a look at how certain precious metals are used in industry.

Iridium

This hard and brittle metal of the platinum group which strongly resists deformation. It’s great hardness but brittle nature makes it a prime alloy component, giving strength to other metals and borrowing their elasticity. One use for iridium alloys is as a conductor for electrical products.

Rhodium

If you need a corrosive-resistant metal, then rhodium and rhodium alloys are a good choice. In both its base form and mixed, it is unusually durably and nearly impossible to tarnish. A common use for rhodium is lining containers carrying dangerous chemicals.

Silver

More commonly known for its use in jewelry, silver also has certain conductive properties that make it useful in industry. It and its alloys are used in many different settings such as solar energy, dentistry, water purification and air conditioning.

Osmium

This metal is rarely used on its own in industrial applications owning to its rarity and density. Osmium is the densest naturally occurring element and this makes it a great choice for an alloy that needs to have extreme durability.

Other precious metals used for industrial purposes include ruthenium and palladium. Most are used in electrical components, but some are resistant to various extreme conditions such as high temperature or corrosion. Making a metal alloy is a complex science due to the fact that certain combinations react differently than others. It is possible to take two metals and create an alloy stronger than either of them, but it is also possible to take two metals and create something more brittle or fragile.

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