Discovered in 1735, the name platinum was taken from the Spanish, platina, meaning little silver. Platinum is recovered from deposits in its elemental form. In these deposits, the platinum is most often mixed with other metals such as gold, copper, nickel, iridium, osmium, palladium, ruthenium, and rhodium. Shown above is an unusually large nugget (1.1 kilogram) of platinum found in the Ural Mountains, USSR. Platinum also occurs in minerals sperrylite (as platinum arsenate) and cooperite (as platinum (II) sulfide).

Platinum is described as a silvery-white, dense metal that is quite malleable and ductile when pure. Platinum is resistant to oxidation and tarnish and does not react with most acids. It dissolves readily in aqua regia. Platinum is one of the heaviest elements, with a density of 21.45 g/cc, almost twice that of lead.

Platinum is an important metal. It is used:

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