Gold is indeed one of the world’s rarest and most expensive precious metals, but it is far from being “number one”. Material prices are not fixed and depend on many different factors – primarily availability and demand. Just a few years ago, palladium was considered the most valuable precious metal in the world, but now the leader is completely different.
What is the most expensive metal on earth?
Currently, the most expensive and rarest metal in the world is rhodium, which has prices around $10,000 an ounce. For comparison, the price of an ounce of gold is “only” $ 1,800, five times less. What makes rhodium so expensive?
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Rhodium is a noble metal, an excellent catalyst, and is resistant to corrosion and oxidation. Its overall hardness and high melting point (1964onc) Place it next to platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, and ruthenium. It is resistant to high water and air temperatures (up to 600 F).onc) Not afraid of most acids. This is why it is used in cars, airplanes, electrical outlets, and resistance wires.
This element is present in the Earth’s crust in an amount of about 0.000037 parts per million (ppm), while gold is present in an amount of about 0.0013 parts per million (ppm). Royal Society of Chemistry). The main rhodium plants are located in South Africa and Russia. The metal is a by-product of refining copper and nickel ores (up to 0.1 percent). About 16 tons of rhodium are produced annually, and current reserves are estimated at 3,000 tons.
Rhodium was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston in Great Britain and owes its name to the Greek word rhodon (rose), because solutions of rhodium salt are pink in color. Interestingly, rhodium has as many as 34 isotopes from the mass range 94-112, but only one is stable (isotope 103), which occurs in nature.
This element is of no biological significance, and its carbonyl complexes are toxic and possibly carcinogenic. It is used, however, to produce surgical instruments and reflective coatings for reflectors. But the most important applications can be found in the automotive world. Like palladium and platinum, rhodium is used to make catalytic converters, and experts expect rhodium to rise even more per ounce in the coming years.
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The increasing demand for rhodium is affected by the tightening of exhaust emissions regulations in China, thus increasing the demand for catalytic converters with this element. This applies to cars that run on gasoline, so it can be expected that as a result of the increase in the share of electric cars in the market, the demand for rhodium will eventually begin to decline. However, it will be decades before that happens.
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