Time for some more fun with the periodic table of elements! I was thinking, every good nerd should have a favorite transition metal. Today, I’ve decided to write on my personal favorite transition metal; its one many ladies, recording artists and kings have adored as well….Platinum.
Atomic Symbol: Pt
Atomic Number: 78
Atomic Mass: 195.078
Sure it has a flashy pop culture reputation. If you’re a rock star, you want your record to go platinum. Then if your record goes platinum, you’ll defiantly be carrying around a platinum credit card to buy all of your groupies nice things. And maybe one day you’ll find a super hot model to marry and you’ll give her a fancy platinum ring with a big old diamond. That’s all fine and dandy but platinum has plenty of other less glamorous uses as well:
- Platinum spark plugs
- catalytic converters (I guess that’s why people steal them?)
- ungodly expensive replacement parts for various laboratory instruments and supplies
- serves as a catalyst in reactions that are needed in oil refining (probably has something to do with why it’s in such high demand….)
The main plus of platinum is its resistance to corrosion. It frankly doesn’t give a darn about nasty acids or super high temperatures so it’s use in the laboratory, on cars or wherever corrosion is a problem makes sense. Why is it so expensive? Well, it’s simply in high demand which means one day King Louis XVI of France declared it the only metal fit for kings. His subjects didn’t really like him so he didn’t last long as king but the stigma he attached to platinum has definitely stuck around.
Heck I’ve fallen for the hype myself and now wear a platinum engagement and wedding ring. My personal reason for the choice was not due my diva qualities. My nerdy side won out. I knew it was the strongest metal used in jewelry (I think this has something to do with its placement on the periodic table) and if this metal was so coveted for its strength and durability, it seems a fitting candidate for a wedding ring. I’m not into diamonds (I mean, their just old carbon after all!) so I was willing to forego a bunch of rocks for the more flashy metal.
So is platinum really all that great? On the outside, it doesn’t look much different than many other metals that cost much less. Is it platinum’s chemical and physical characteristics that make it so coveted or is it just because “we” say it’s “cooler” than other metals? I would say it’s probably a little of both.
So does anyone else have a favorite transition metal or am I the only one who would even think about that? 🙂