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Rhodium

What Is Rhodium?

Rhodium is a rare, silvery-white transition metal which is a member of the Platinum Group Metals (PGMs). Naturally occurring rhodium is never found as a chemical compound but as a free metal alloyed with similar metals. It is the world’s most expensive precious metal costing between six to ten times as much as gold by weight.

Rhodium is hard and durable with a high reflectance. It is known as a noble metal as it is corrosion and oxidation resistant. Rhodium is a fission product of nuclear waste but the expense of separation from these wastes is too high to warrant extraction.

What Is Rhodium Used For?

Rhodium is frequently used as an alloying agent for palladium and platinum used in aircraft spark plugs, as electrodes and furnace coils. It is used to coat white gold and silver to give them a brilliant shine. Rhodium has been used in electrical contacts, as a catalyst in automobile catalytic converters and as a filter in mammography systems.

Where Is Rhodium Mined?

South Africa produces over 80% of the world’s rhodium where it is obtained entirely as a by-product of platinum and/or nickel mining. Other producers include Russia and Canada.

Conclusion

Rhodium is considered to be the most expensive metal. It is a rare transition metal and a member of the Platinum Group Metals. It is resistant to corrosion and oxidation. The primary uses for rhodium are as:
  • an alloying agent for other metals
  • a catalyst
  • a filter
  • a coating on silver and white gold in the jewellery industry

If you would like to learn more about minerals and mining visit our Mining and Metals page.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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