Japanese scientists produce artificial palladium


January 3, 2011

Palladium electron shell (Image: Pumbaa via Wikimedia, CC 2.0)

Palladium electron shell (Image: Pumbaa via Wikimedia, CC 2.0)

Japanese researchers have used nanotechnology to develop a process which resembles something out of a 16th Century alchemy textbook. Although not producing gold, as was the aim of the alchemists, the scientists have discovered a technique that allows otherwise inert elements to be combined to form new intermediate alloy-elements. So far, an alloy of palladium has been created by mixing silver and rhodium together.

Professor Hiroshi Kitagawa and his team used nanotechnology to combine rhodium and silver to produce an alloy with similar properties to palladium, which is located between rhodium and silver on the periodic table. These two metals usually would not mix, as rhodium has 45 electrons and silver 47, and so are stable elements unable to react with each other under normal conditions. The research team overcame this hurdle by mixing rhodium and silver in solution which was then turned into a mist and mixed with heated alcohol. This process produced particles of the new alloy that are around 10 nanometres in diameter.

The new alloy has properties similar to the rare metal palladium. Part of the platinum group of metals, palladium should not to be confused with the rare earth minerals (also known as rare earth metals), a collection of seventeen elements in the periodic table, namely scandium, yttrium, and the fifteen lanthanides. Although the platinum group of metals are distinct from the rare earth metals, they are still hard to come by due to their global distribution and concentration.

The properties of palladium and other platinum group metals account for their widespread use in electronics, manufacturing, medicine, hydrogen purification, chemical applications and groundwater treatment.

Although the new alloy will be difficult to produce commercially, Kitagawa intends to use the production method to develop other alloys for use as alternative rare metals. Kitagawa has begun joint research with auto manufactures to further his research. The alloy was produced by researchers at Kyoto University, Japan.

Via Asia News Network


This is clevera and useful.

Mr Stiffy

Im sorry, this thing just reeks of BS. I have a feeling someone is board and felt like teasing the rhodium markets.

Michael Mantion

Michael? how board do you think they are? perhaps very bored?

Bill Bennett

\"Professor Hiroshi Kitagawa and his team used nanotechnology to combine rhodium and silver to produce an alloy with similar properties to palladium, which is located between rhodium and silver on the periodic table.\"

This is a most important discovery. The title is not accurate because the individual components of the alloy retain their same number of protons (the factor which identifies an element). However, the effect of the alloy as being able to replace palladium is important in terms of manufacturing products requiring this rare and valuable element.

Adrian Akau

Bill Bennett: To be grammatically correct, you should use a capital letter after a question mark, and there should not be a question mark after \'Michael\'. Probably a colon. Then followed by a capital letter. Come to think of it, you should say \'he is\' and not \'they are\'. To continue: Michael, the word \'Im\' should be I\'m. Call me pedantic!


windy you are pedantic

Michael Mantion

Don\'t see how their goal is going to work- all the elements next to the rare earths are rare earths except Barium and Hafnium and Hafnium is nearly as valuable as it usually used with Zirconium (\"alloy\"). Hafnium and Zirconium are difficult to separate and used in Chemical plants.


This article is badly written. It can\'t be an alloy of palladium if it doesn\'t have palladium in it. It\'s an analog of palladium.


Quoting \"Michael? how board do you think they are? perhaps very bored?\"

Maybe they just have a board foot?


The interesting part is when they use the same method for neighbouring elements with very differing properties.


Look up Hundt\'s electron rule... The intermetallic compound has every right to have the physical properties of Pd, although this is unusual as well as instructive. It does not mean that all bridging elements will do this, nor exemplify physical (or chemical) properties of the missing element. Usually there are preferred ratios of the elements giving rise to phases for intermetallic formation. What Kitigawa has done is stumble through a new door of physical chemistry. Go ahead and look for phases of Ag & Rh to see that Ag3Rh is what is usually produced (Hundt\'s rule). I think catalysis is an application but not like Pd. Nanocatalysts are different beasts. There should be some ways to pulse electroplate differing alloy (anomalous codeposition) compositions of the two but you\'ll likely never get cold fusion out of the product. But that\'s why we experiment - - so we don\'t get over-board. :)


This is an interesting breakthrough, but it gives no comparision of the physical or chemical properties of the new alloy to palladium which is important in the auto industry. The key question for auto manufacturers, the main users of palladium in catalytic converters, is the price comparison between the alloy and palladium pure. As rhodium is two and a half to three times the price of palladium, allowing for market variance, and silver being relatively very cheap to both so can be ignored in the rough calculation, the use of rhodium to mimic palladium has to be more than a little dubious at present.

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