What is Palladium? Definitions, Uses & Comparisons


What is Palladium?

Palladium is a glossy, silver-white precious metal that’s part of the platinum group of metals. It is malleable, ductile, corrosion-resistant, and a good conductor of heat and electricity. Palladium in the periodic table has the symbol Pd, atomic number 46, and atomic weight of 106.42 u. It is classified as a transition metal and noble metal. Palladium is used in catalytic converters, jewelry, dentistry, electronics, and fuel cells. Palladium is not a radioactive chemical element.

Forms of palladium

Palladium metal is the form of pure palladium. Palladium is rarely found in pure form. It is often mined with ore deposits that contain nickel, copper, gold, and other platinum group metals.

Palladium bullion is 99.95% palladium minted for commodity trading and investment. It is often minted into bars or coins.

Palladium jewelry is typically made with high purity of 95% palladium content or palladium 950. Palladium is good for jewelry. Palladium 950 is popular for fine jewelry because it provides the right balance of durability and a natural, white sheen. It also doesn't tarnish or require plating. It is hypoallergenic, making it compatible with sensitive skin. Palladium jewelry with lower purity is also available.

Palladium alloy is a mix of pure palladium and other metals to improve its hardness or other properties. For instance, palladium is alloyed with gold in jewelry to create white gold. Palladium-copper and palladium-silver alloys are also common.

Palladium compounds are produced when palladium reacts with another chemical element or compound. One example is palladium chloride which is used for catalysis and electro-plating.

Palladium catalysts come in a variety of forms. It may be used as fine particles supported on a substrate, as a homogeneous catalyst in solution, or as a part of a larger complex with other molecules.

Palladium powder is often used as a catalyst in chemical reactions due to its high surface area.

Uses of palladium

Palladium in Jewelry and Investing

  • Palladium jewelry has seen an increase in value with the jump in palladium price. A palladium ring is now worth more than a platinum ring. Its white color does not fade or needs polishing, unlike white gold jewelry. It's also lighter than platinum or gold which can be preferred by some.
  • Palladium is one of the major precious metals that are traded on commodity exchanges and treated as investment products. Just like gold, silver, or platinum, palladium can be bought in physical bullion, such as bars and coins. Physical palladium acts as a hedge against inflation or economic instability. Its price movements are not correlated with the stock market. This makes them a good vehicle for diversification. The IRS approves 99.95% pure palladium bullion as an investment asset in a gold IRA.
  • Palladium ETFs offer investors a way to include palladium in their portfolio without having to store the physical metal. These precious metal ETFs buy and store palladium and then issue shares that can be bought and sold on a stock exchange.
  • Palladium futures and options are traded on commodities exchanges. Futures contracts involve an agreement to buy or sell a certain amount of palladium at a set price at a future date. Options give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell palladium at a set price. These contracts can be volatile in price so exercise caution.
  • Investors can also buy stocks in mining companies that produce palladium. The performance of these stocks is tied not only to the palladium price but also to the company's performance.

Palladium uses in industrial applications

  • The most significant use of palladium is catalytic converters in the automotive industry. It’s used to convert harmful gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide into less harmful substances.
  • Palladium serves as a catalyst in many other chemical reactions. It is particularly important in hydrogenation and dehydrogenation. This process is important in the production of pharmaceutical products.
  • Palladium is used in certain types of fuel cells as part of the electrochemical process that converts fuel into energy. One example is a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). PEMFCs are used in electric vehicles, drones, and more.

Palladium uses in computers and electronics

  • Palladium is used in making multi layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs). These capacitors are used in many electronic devices. They store and release electrical energy and help regulate the power supply within a device.
  • The connectors, pins, and plugs used in electronic devices often use palladium or palladium alloy plating. This ensures a reliable connection and service life.
  • Due to palladium's unique ability to absorb hydrogen, it is used in hydrogen sensors.
  • Palladium compounds are used in making semiconductors. These are crucial in the production of integrated circuits.

Palladium uses in dentistry and medicine

  • Palladium is used in dental alloys, particularly in crowns and bridges. Palladium-silver and palladium-gold alloys are commonly used. Palladium can also be found in dental filling materials.
  • Palladium-based compounds are being researched for use in cancer treatments. Some studies suggest that palladium complexes might be effective against cancer cells. Palladium is also used in various medical devices, including surgical instruments.
  • Palladium-103, a radioactive isotope of palladium, is used in brachytherapy. This is a form of radiation therapy where radioactive seeds are implanted directly into or near a tumor.
  • Some palladium compounds can react with components of the human body. These reactions create substances that are useful for diagnostic testing.

Palladium vs other metals


  • Palladium is a silvery-white metal. It is also malleable and ductile but is harder and more durable than gold. It naturally resists tarnish and oxidation, making it ideal for jewelry without the need for plating.
  • Palladium is used primarily in catalytic converters in the automotive industry. It's also used in electronics, dentistry, medicine, and chemical applications as a catalyst.
  • Palladium is also used as an investment, though it's less common than gold. Its price can be quite volatile, affected by factors such as industrial demand and supply constraints.
  • Both gold and palladium prices fluctuate based on market conditions, supply and demand, and other factors. Palladium us currently more expensive than gold.
  • Palladium is rarer than gold. The majority of the world's supply comes from just two countries: Russia and South Africa.


  • Gold is a yellow metal known for its malleability, ductility, and resistance to corrosion and tarnish. It's used extensively in jewelry, often alloyed with other metals to improve its strength.
  • Aside from jewelry, gold is used in dentistry, electronics, and aerospace applications.
  • Gold is a traditional safe-haven investment and is often used as a hedge against inflation or economic uncertainty. It is widely traded in the form of bars, coins, ETFs, and futures.
  • There have been periods where gold has been more expensive than palladium, but currently, gold is cheaper.
  • Gold is more abundant and is mined more than palladium. The major gold-producing countries include China, Australia, Russia, and the United States.


  • Both have silvery-white patina. Palladium has a lower density.
  • As a platinum group metal, it is resistant to corrosion and oxidation.
  • Both metals find similar use in catalytic converters and industrial applications. 
  • Palladium is more scarce. Most of It is found in Russia and South Africa.
  • Palladium is currently more expensive than platinum.


  • Platinum is more rigid, and dense. It has a higher melting point.
  • Platinum has a higher resistance to chemical reactions and high-temperature breakdown because of its higher melting point.
  • Platinum metal is used more often because it's more abundant and resilient.
  • Most of the platinum the world uses is mined in South Africa.
  • Platinum has recently dropped in price. It's currently lower than gold's price.

5 interesting facts about palladium

  • Palladium has a low density compared to other precious metals. Its density of 12.02 grams per cubic centimeter is the 2nd lowest among precious metals. Only silver is lower at 10.49 grams per cubic centimeter.
  • Palladium has a high melting point of 1554.9 degrees Celsius (2830.82 degrees Fahrenheit). Its boiling point is 2,963 degrees Celsius (5,365 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • William Hyde Wollaston, an English chemist, discovered it in 1803. William named it after the asteroid Pallas which was discovered the year earlier, in 1802. The asteroid was named after Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, craft, and war.
  • Palladium can absorb hydrogen at room temperature, a key feature in hydrogen purification processes.
  • Russia is the leading source globally for palladium. Their mines in the Norilsk-Talnakh region contain significant reserves of palladium. South Africa produces large quantities of palladium from the Bushveld Complex. This is one of the richest metal-bearing regions in the world. Together, Russia and South Africa account for over 75% of the global palladium production.

Considering palladium as an investment

Palladium is a major precious metal with many industrial, medical, and economic applications. It has great potential rewards for the patient investor. Investing in palladium is risky. It’s important to have a good understanding to safely diversify without getting too much risk. Before moving forward, learn about precious metals investing with Augusta Precious Metals. It is one of the most trusted precious metal IRA companies in the United States.

About the author 

Ronald Cagape

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