Name, Symbol, Number palladium, Pd, 46
Chemical series Transition metals
Group, Period, Block 10, 5, d
Density, Hardness 12023 kg/m3, 4.75
Appearance Silvery white metallic
Atomic properties
Atomic weight 106.42 u
Atomic radius (calc.) 140 (169) pm
Covalent radius 131 pm
van der Waals radius 163 pm
Electron configuration [Kr]4d10
e- 's per energy level 2, 8, 18, 18, 0
Oxidation states (Oxide)  ?1 (mildly basic)
Crystal structure Cubic face centered
Physical properties
State of matter Solid (__)
Melting point 1828.05 K (2830.82 ?F)
Boiling point 3236 K (5365 ?F)
Molar volume 8.56 ×10-6 m3/mol
Heat of vaporization 357 kJ/mol
Heat of fusion 17.6 kJ/mol
Vapor pressure 1.33 Pa at 1825 K
Speed of sound 3070 m/s at 293.15 K
Electronegativity 2.20 (Pauling scale)
Specific heat capacity 244 J/(kg*K)
Electrical conductivity 9.5 106/(m?ohm)
Thermal conductivity 71.8 W/(m*K)
1st ionization potential 804.4 kJ/mol
2nd ionization potential 1870 kJ/mol
3rd ionization potential 3177 kJ/mol
Most stable isotopes
iso NA half-life DM DE MeV DP
102Pd 1.02% Pd is stable with 56 neutrons
104Pd 11.14% Pd is stable with 58 neutrons
105Pd 22.33% Pd is stable with 59 neutrons
106Pd 27.33% Pd is stable with 60 neutrons
107Pd {syn.} 6.5 E6 y β- 0.033 107Ag
108Pd 26.46% Pd is stable with 62 neutrons
110Pd 11.72% Pd is stable with 64 neutrons
SI units & STP are used except where noted.

Palladium is a chemical element with symbol Pd and atomic number 46. A rare silver-white transition metal of the platinum group, palladium resembles platinum chemically and is extracted from some copper and nickel ores. It is primarily used as an industrial catalyst and in jewelry.

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Notable characteristics

Palladium is a soft steel-white metal that resembles platinum, doesn't tarnish in air, and is the least dense and has the lowest melting point of the platinum group metals. It is soft and ductile when annealed and greatly increases its strength and hardness when it is cold-worked. Palladium is chemically attacked by sulfuric and nitric acid but dissolves slowly in hydrochloric acid. This metal also does not react with oxygen at normal temperatures.

This metal has the uncommon ability to absorb up to 900 times its own volume of hydrogen at room temperatures. It is thought that this possibly forms palladium hydride - Pd2H - but it is not yet clear if this is a true chemical compound.

Common oxidation states of palladium are +2, +3 and +4. Recently, palladium compounds in which palladium has oxidation state +6 were synthesized.


When it is finely divided, palladium forms a good catalyst and is used to speed up hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions, as well as in petroleum cracking. It is also alloyed and used in jewelry. Other uses;


Palladium was discovered by William Hyde Wollaston in 1803. This element was named by Wollaston in 1804 after the asteroid Pallas, which was discovered two years earlier.

Wollaston found element 46 in crude platinum ore from South America. He did this by dissolving the ore in aqua regia, neutralizing the solution with sodium hydroxide, NaOH, precipitating platinum as ammonium chloroplatinate through treatment with ammonium chloride, NH4Cl, and then adding mercuric cyanide to form the compound palladium cyanide. Finally, he heated the resulting compound in order to extract palladium metal.

The compound palladium chloride was at one time prescribed as a tuberculosis treatment at the rate of 0.065g per day (approximately one milligram per kilogram of body weight). This treatment did not have many negative side effects, but was later replaced by more effective drugs.

The element played an essential role in the Fleischmann-Pons experiment, also known as cold fusion.

In 2000, Ford Motor Company created a price bubble in palladium by stockpiling large amounts of the metal, fearing interrupted supplies from Russia. As prices fell in early 2001, Ford lost nearly $1 billion U.S. dollars.


Palladium is found as a free metal and alloyed with platinum and gold with platinum group metals in placer deposits of the Ural Mountains, Australia, Ethiopia, South and North America. However it is commercially produced from nickel-copper deposits found in South Africa and Ontario (the huge volume of ore processed makes this extraction profitable in spite of its low concentration in these ores).

About the possibility of producing palladium in reactors or extracting it from spent nuclear fuel, see Synthesis of noble metals.


Naturally-occurring palladium is composed of six isotopes. The most stable radioisotopes are Pd-107 with a half-life of 6.5 million years, Pd-103 with a half-life of 17 days, and Pd-100 with a half-life of 3.63 days. Eighteen other radioisotopes have been characterized with atomic weights ranging from 92.936 u (Pd-93) to 119.924 u (Pd-120). Most of these have half-lifes that are less than a half an hour except Pd-101 (half-life: 8.47 hours), Pd-109 (half-life: 13.7 hours), and Pd-112 (half-life: 21 hours).

The primary decay mode before the most abundant stable isotope, Pd-106, is electron capture and the primary mode after is beta decay. The primary decay product before Pd-106 is rhodium and the primary product after is silver.

Radiogenic Ag-107 is a decay product of Pd-107 and was first discovered in the Santa Clara, California meteorite of 1978. The discoverers suggest that the coalescence and differentiation of iron-cored small planets may have occurred 10 million years after a nucleosynthetic event. Pd-107 versus Ag correlations observed in bodies, which have clearly been melted since accretion of the solar system, must reflect the presence of short-lived nuclides in the early solar system. Template:Chem clipart



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