4 Precious Metal Alloys
Precious metals are rare, valuable elements, such as silver, gold, platinum, palladium, iridium, osmium, rhodium, and ruthenium. These types of naturally-occurring metals have certain unique characteristics which separate them from other metals. Due to these unique characteristics and the rarity of the metals, many people use them as an investment. Here are four of the most well-known types of precious metal alloys.
A dense, soft, and shiny yellow metal, Gold is the most malleable and ductile of any known metals, allowing it to be altered in shape without breaking or cracking. This metal is commonly used due to its high resistance to corrosion, but tends to be of a higher cost and offers lower resistance to erosion. This type of metal is most commonly seen in jewelry or currency but is also often used in certain specialty applications and electronics.
A soft, white, and shiny transition metal, silver is often used for electrical purposes because it features the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal. While silver is a soft metal, it can be strengthened by combining it with copper. However, this combination will negatively affect the conductivity so it is rarely done when being used for electrical purposes. Silver can’t be the main component for most commercial applications because of its softness but can be used as a starting component before being joined by other metals to create a silver-based alloy.
Palladium is a shiny, silvery-white metal that is a member of the platinum group metals (PGM). This metal is the least dense and features the lowest melting point among all of the platinum group metals available. When heated, palladium becomes soft, allowing it to be able to become drawn out into a thin wire. When exposed to cold, it hardens and becomes stronger. This metal is commonly used in catalytic converters, electronics, hydrogen storage and purification, and jewelry.
Similar to gold, platinum is a shiny metal that can be pressed out of shape or drawn into a thin wire. This silvery-white element usually has a strong natural resistance to corrosion and won’t mix with oxygen at any temperature. However, it can corrode when being exposed to halogens, cyanides, sulfur, and caustic alkalis. Platinum is usually mixed with iridium, ruthenium, or tungsten to create a useful alloy and is commonly used in catalytic converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts and electrodes, and jewelry.
Precious metal alloys are rare metals that feature unique characteristics and can be used for a variety of purposes, such as electrical contacts and jewelry. There are many aspects to consider when choosing the right metal to use for a specific purpose but these are the basics of some of the most popular precious metals.