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Palladium: the essentials

Palladium atoms have 46 electrons and the shell structure is 2.8.18.18.0. The ground state electronic configuration of neutral palladium is [Kr].4d10 and the term symbol of palladium is 1S0.

Palladium: description  

Palladium is a steel-white metal, does not tarnish in air, and is the least dense and lowest melting of the platinum group metals. When annealed, it is soft and ductile. Cold working increases its strength and hardness. It is used in some watch springs.

Ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum together make up a group of elements referred to as the platinum group metals (PGM).

At room temperatures the metal has the unusual property of absorbing up to 900 times its own volume of hydrogen. Hydrogen readily diffuses through heated palladium and this provides a means of purifying the gas.

palladium sheet
This sample is from The Elements Collection, an attractive and safely packaged collection of the 92 naturally occurring elements that is available for sale.

Palladium: physical properties

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Palladium: heat properties

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Palladium: atom sizes

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Palladium: electronegativities

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Palladium: orbital properties

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Palladium: abundances

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Palladium: crystal structure

Pd crystal structure
The solid state structure of palladium is: bcc (body-centred cubic).

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Palladium: biological data

Palladium has no biological role. Palladium chloride was formerly prescribed as a treatment for tuberculosis at the rate of 0.065 g per day (approximately 1 mg kg-1) without too many bad side effects.

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Palladium: uses

Uses...

Palladium: reactions

Reactions of palladium as the element with air, water, halogens, acids, and bases where known.

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Palladium: binary compounds

Binary compounds with halogens (known as halides), oxygen (known as oxides), hydrogen (known as hydrides), and other compounds of palladium where known.

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Palladium: compound properties

Bond strengths; lattice energies of palladium halides, hydrides, oxides (where known); and reduction potentials where known.

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Palladium: history

Palladium was discovered by William Hyde Wollaston in 1803 at England. Origin of name: named after the asteroid "Pallas" which was discovered at about the same time and from the Greek name "Pallas", goddess of wisdom.

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Palladium: isotopes

Isotope abundances of palladium
Isotope abundances of palladium with the most intense signal set to 100%.

Pd-104 is used for the production of radioactive Pd-103 seeds which are used to fight prostate cancer. Pd-103 can also be made from Pd-102. Other Pd isotopes such as Pd-110 and Pd-108 have been used in physical experiments such as research into the decay of Nd-137 and nuclear fusion phenomena. Pd-108 can also be used for the production of radioactive Pd-109 which is used for cancer therapy.

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Palladium: isolation

Isolation: it would not normally be necessary to make a sample of palladium in the laboratory as the metal is available commercially. The industrial extraction of palladium is complex as the metal occurs in ores mixed with other metals such as platinum. Sometimes extraction of the precious metals such as platinum and palladium is the main focus of a partiular industrial operation while in other cases it is a byproduct. The extraction is complex and only worthwhile since palladium is the basis of important catalysts in industry.

Preliminary treatment of the ore or base metal byproduct with aqua regia (a mixture of hydrochloric acid, HCl, and nitric acid, HNO3) gives a solution containing complexes of gold and platinum as well as H2PdCl4. The gold is removed from this solution as a precipitate by treatment with iron chloride (FeCl2). The platinum is precipitated out as (NH4)2PtCl6 on treatment with NH4Cl, leaving H2PdCl4 in solution. The palladium is precipitated out by treatment with ammonium hydroxide, NH4OH, and HCl as the complex PdCl2(NH3)2. This yields palladium metal by burning.