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Difference Between Silver and Platinum

Silver vs Platinum

The table of elements learned by students in high school from their chemistry class can show the differences between silver and platinum. Silver (Ag) is a kind of “transition metal” belonging to the groups 3-12 in the Periodic Table. The element is known for its ductility, malleability and high ability to conduct electricity and heat.

After due process, silver would appear as a lustrous white metal which can be found in ores like argentite. Silver is actually valued in the industrial field for its high conductivity of thermal and electrical energy. The metal is also proven useful in the production of coins, photography, dentistry, soldering of alloys, and development of electrical contacts. Nonetheless, silver is most famous for being a good component of jewelry, tableware, and other ornamental products.

Platinum, on the other hand, is also included in the category of transition metals. This being said, it is implied that silver and platinum have the same properties in terms of ductility, malleability, and conductivity of heat and electricity. Platinum, however, has characteristics that greatly differ from those of silver’s. For one, it is considerably more valuable than silver as it is rare and difficult to mine. While it only takes three tons of ore to mine silver or gold, ten tons of ore are required to get the same ounce of platinum.

Chemists also coined the term “environmental metal” for platinum’s various applications. In fact, more than 20 per cent of products manufactured in different industries from different parts of the world are developed and produced with platinum as one of the main components.

From various lab experiments and research, experts have also recently discovered the possibility of using platinum as a catalyst during the preparation of silicone rubber and gel parts of aesthetic and dermatological implants for breasts, artificial lumbar disks, vascular access ports, and joint replacement prosthetics.

Both silver and platinum, nonetheless, are widely used in jewelry making. Most of the time, consumers find it difficult to distinguish platinum from silver while inside the store. In such cases, there is a need for them to know the difference between silver and platinum accessories in order for buyers to make the right choice.

Silver jewelry is generally softer than those made from platinum. Scratching one’s nail into the pieces is the easiest way to tell the difference between the two – silver is easily scratched while platinum is not.

When buyers of jewelry have the time to conduct several tests to distinguish one from another, they may as well buy sulphuric acid or any sulphurous compound (make sure to be careful with the handling of these chemicals). Silver will instantly tarnish black as they grow close to the compound while platinum ores do not. Silver also dissolves in any oxidizing acid unlike platinum.

Platinum is known to be 95 per cent pure and can last longer than silver. Jewelry makers disclose that the pieces made of platinum may consist of ruthenium or iridium which gives the accessories greater strength and resistance to corrosion.
Another experiment may involve getting and calculating the density of the pieces. The key is to weigh them first in a balance and getting the value of their volume afterwards. To do this, submerge the jewelry in matter and measure the amount of displaced water. It would be best to tie a piece to a string and let it not touch the bottom of the glass. The next step is to divide the weight of the jewelry by the water volume measured. Note that silver pieces will always have a density of 10.5 g/cc. and platinum always has 18g/cc.

Summary:

1.Both silver and platinum belong to the family of transition metals and appear to be lustrous, white metals.
2.Silver is more prone to corrosion and oxidation that platinum.
3.It is harder to mine platinum.
4.Platinum is more expensive that silver.
5.Silver has a density of 10.5g/cc. while platinum has 18 g/cc.


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