46Pd Palladium

Year Discovered


Discovered By

William Hyde Wollaston of England

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


Named after the asteroid Pallas (which was discovered about the same time), palladium is a lustrous silvery-white metal. It is malleable, ductile and unreactive in the presence of air and water, but does react with acids and alkalis. Palladium is unusual in that hydrogen gas can filter through hot palladium. This quality allows palladium to purify hydrogen gas. At room temperature, palladium can absorb up to 900 times its own volume of hydrogen. It serves as a catalyst, and catalytic converters in automobile exhaust systems account for much of its use. It also is used in surgical instruments, watch-making and electrical contacts. Due to the fact it will not tarnish in air or water, it often is used in dental work, usually alloyed with gold or silver. White gold, often used in jewelry, is an alloy of gold and palladium.

Biological Benefits

Palladium has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefit for life processes.


Palladium is generally found only in pure form, and along with platinum is found in sulfide concentrations in mafic igneous rocks It is mined in Russia, the USA(Montana), Zimbabwe, Australia, Canada and Finland.