New Platinum-Gold Alloy Could Be the Hardest Metal Ever Made . . . and One of the Rarest

New Platinum-Gold Alloy Could Be the Hardest Metal Ever Made . . . and One of the Rarest

Have you heard about the new alloy of platinum and gold that is said to be the most indestructible metal ever made . . . one that is as hard as diamonds and virtually abrasion-proof? We have heard about it too. It sounds like a hoax. After all, gold is a very soft metal. Platinum can easily be scratched, as owners of platinum engagement rings have discovered. So how can it be that combining these two not-so-durable metals could result in a super-metal that is virtually indestructible?

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What Role Does Copper Play in Determining the Value of Precious Metals?

What Role Does Copper Play in Determining the Value of Precious Metals?

Copper is a metal with many wonderful and useful properties. It is soft and malleable. It is also a “friendly” metal that can be blended with many other metals to form alloys.

What precious metals are most often mixed with copper? And when they are, how does that affect their value? Let’s explore that topic.

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Why Stuff that Doesn’t Glitter Could Be Platinum

Why Stuff that Doesn’t Glitter Could Be Platinum

Although platinum doesn’t rust or oxidize, it can discolor after it is exposed to high heat in laboratories. That bluish patina can be deceiving. You look at a discolored piece of thermocouple wire or a testing crucible or a stand that was used in the lab and think, “this discolored stuff can’t possibly be platinum.” The discolorations that affect used platinum mesh or sponge can be even more deceiving. They can be reduced to a blackish powder that you’d be tempted to sweep up and toss away.

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Get Wired! How to Unravel Big Dollars from Wires Made of Gold, Platinum and other Precious Metals

Get Wired! How to Unravel Big Dollars from Wires Made of Gold, Platinum and other Precious Metals

If you’re emptying an old factory that produced products that contained metals, chances are good that you will discover wire that contains precious metals.  You might find coils of it in storage areas. You might find little rolls of it hiding in drawers. Unless the previous owners labeled their supplies carefully or the wire is still in its original packaging, you have very little way of knowing what kind of wire you have.

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Platinum, Miracle Metal, Finds New Medical Applications

With every year that passes, platinum is finding more and more medical applications. Let’s explore them in today’s post.

Interventional Devices

Because platinum is biocompatible – not rejected by the human body – it is a metal of choice for cardiac and other stents that are left permanently in the body. It is also widely used in implantable defibrillators, pacemakers, and neuromonitoring devices used to control Parkinson’s and other disorders. As America’s population ages, the demand for those devices is increasing.

Physicians insert a platinum EP catheter into a blood vessel that leads to the patient’s heart. Used EP catheters can be recycled profitably for your organization by Specialty Metals.

Physicians insert a platinum EP catheter into a blood vessel that leads to the patient’s heart. Used EP catheters can be recycled profitably for your organization by Specialty Metals.

Orthopedic Devices

Because of its biocompatibility and ability to be formed into a variety of shapes that range from plates to wires to large components, platinum and platinum alloys are metals of choice for implantable devices that include hip and knee implants, plates and screws that are used to stabilize broken bones, and devices that are used to stabilize or support the spine.

Surgical and Testing Applications

Platinum is an excellent conductor of electricity too, making it a first choice for equipment that is used to test cardiac functions. Platinum is also used in wires and catheters that are used to monitor arthroscopic, ophthalmic, and other surgical procedures.

Cancer Medicines

And here’s a surprise. Over the last 50 years, a number of platinum-based medicines have been developed to fight ovarian, testicular and other cancers. One such medicine, Cisplatin, has been in use since 1977. Another cancer drug, Satraplatin, is being evaluated for treatment of prostate cancer. These medications work because platinum inhibits cell division, so cancerous cells can be stopped from reproducing as aggressively.

Demand for Platinum to Remain High

The strong demand for platinum in healthcare applications, coupled with its relative rarity in nature, means that the demand for your recyclable platinum will stay strong. If you would like to know more about using our refining services to unlock the dollar value that is hidden in platinum recyclables, call us at 800-426-2344.

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What Happens when Platinum Meets Rhodium?

Platinum is a valuable precious metal. So is rhodium. So what happens when they are combined?

The result is a valuable alloy that has some very useful properties and abilities, including stability at high heat. That could explain why alloys of the platinum and rhodium have found their way into a number of devices and components that are widely used in testing, aerospace and production lines.

Shown: platinum rhodium electrode mesh, which Specialty Metals can recycle and refine for the best precious metal prices.

Shown: platinum rhodium electrode mesh, which Specialty Metals can recycle and refine for the best precious metal prices.

If you have some of the following items on hand, they could contain quantities of the two metals that can return a lot of dollar value to you after they are recycled.

Platinum-Rhodium Thermocouple Wire

Thermocouple wire is widely used in industrial applications, most often where temperatures on a production line are monitored from remote locations. Some of these applications include production line welding, ceramics manufacturing, and many chemical processes.

Platinum-Rhodium Labware Used in Testing

These items can include crucibles, tongs, stands, probes, and other pieces of testing equipment. Even when such items are discolored or worn, they still contain valuable quantities of platinum and rhodium.

Platinum-Rhodium Catalysts Used in Chemical Production

These applications are far-ranging and fascinating. Screens made of platinum-rhodium alloy are used to produce nitric acid, fine glass fibers for use in fiber optics, and even artificial silk. If you encounter a batch of those screens, it is well worth contacting Special Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to find out more about having them analyzed.

Automotive and Industrial Catalytic Converters

These are the applications where alloys of platinum and rhodium have been most widely used. If you operate an automotive recycling center, a muffler shop, or other business where you accrue a quantity of catalytic converters, don’t let their value slip away.

And let’s not forget platinum-rhodium-tungsten alloys . . .

These highly heat-resistant alloys are finding their way into a number of aerospace applications, and can be worth a lot if recycled. Have questions? Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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What You Need to Know about Recycling Alloys of Precious Metals

If you have a quantity of metal that is an alloy that contains precious metal, it’s valuable. That’s the good news. The confusing part is, how much of that precious metal do your alloys really contain? Gold, platinum, palladium and silver are all frequently found as alloys with a variety of other metals. You should call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners and let us analyze them for you.

Here is some information you should know about alloys.

Alloys Are Not Always Made Entirely of Metals

Liquid, molten gold alloy being poured in a foundry. Find out how much precious metals your gold, silver and platinum alloys contain at Specialty Metals.

Liquid, molten gold alloy being poured in a foundry. Find out how much precious metals your gold, silver and platinum alloys contain at Specialty Metals.

A metal alloy is a material that is made by combining two or more elements, only one of which must be a metal. Sometimes an alloy is made of two or more metals, but not always. For example, 18K gold is an alloy that contains 75% gold and 25% percent palladium, copper, zinc… or cobalt. As you can tell, 18K gold that is made of 75% gold and 25% palladium is more valuable than 18K gold that is made of 75% gold and 25% copper or cobalt. It makes sense, right?

Names Can Be Misleading

Similarly, a platinum alloy could be made up of platinum that has been combined with iridium, ruthenium . . . or cobalt. If you have a quantity of platinum thermocouples that you would like to recycle, for example, they probably contain both platinum and rhodium. So remember, names can be confusing – just because you have some “platinum thermocouples,” they are almost certainly alloys that do not contain 100% platinum.

Testing and Analysis Are Needed

As we’ve learned in today’s post, the dollar value of precious metal alloys can vary, depending on the quantity of pure precious metals that they contain. You need a qualified precious metals refinery to do some analysis for you before you can determine just how valuable your alloys really are.

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3 Things You Probably Never Knew about Platinum Sponges

If you use platinum sponges in your manufacturing operations, you already know a lot about them. You know where to buy them, what they cost, and maybe even how to install them in your production machinery. But here’s something you might not know:

Your used platinum sponges can be worth quite a lot.

Here are three of the reasons why . . .

Shown: Platinum sponges like these contain a high percentage of pure platinum which Specialty Metals can profitably recycle for your company. Image Courtesy of ChemicalReagent.com

Shown: Platinum sponges like these contain a high percentage of pure platinum which Specialty Metals can profitably recycle for your company. Image Courtesy of ChemicalReagent.com

  1. Platinum sponges are made of platinum that is almost 100% pure. It’s interesting – to make platinum sponge, a chemical agent is added to molten platinum. That agent foams and makes the platinum assume a sponge-like, porous form as it cools. When that agent is removed, the sponge that remains is nearly pure platinum – in most cases, 99% pure or even more.
  2. Even the smallest residues of spent platinum sponges can contain more pure platinum that you’d expect. Even if you have used scraps and splinters that appear worthless, they could still be worth a lot of money, because they still contain platinum that is extremely pure.
  3. You can receive an unusually large and rapid payback from platinum sponges that you recycle. The reason? Again, it’s the purity. Most other materials that we refine – such as ores, alloys, plating scrap, sludge and other materials - are difficult and costly to process because they are so impure. In comparison, platinum sponge is generally easier and faster to process.

Don’t Let Pure Platinum Slip Away

If your operations produce even small quantities of spent platinum sponge, call us at 800-426-2344. We’re America’s best, most qualified platinum refiners - here to make sure you’re not letting valuable quantities of platinum slip away.

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