The Physics
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Price of Platinum

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24 Hour Spot Platinum. Kitco, 24 May 2009. [See Figure 1 below. Note: mass is in ounces.] $40.60/g
"Platinum." CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. 75th ed. Florida: CRC Press, 1994. "The price in January 1990 was about $500/troy oz." $16.08/g
Investing in Platinum. Galt Technology, 2009. "Platinum is priced per ounce, just like gold. Platinum was stuck in a trading range around $400 for the entire decade of the 90s. This was on par with gold until the late 90s when gold tanked down to $250 per oz. Over the last 6 years (2001-2007) gold has almost tripled in price to near $700. During the same time, the price of platinum has gone from $400 to $1300." $14.11 - $45.86/g
United States Tariff Commission. Tariff Information Surveys on the Articles in Paragraph 1-of the Tariff Act of 1913 and Related Articles in Other Paragraphs. US Government Printing Office, 1921: 56. "When the shortage of platinum became acute in 1917, the price rose sharply to nearly $105 per ounce, and thereafter it remained nearly constant at that figure for the rest of the year." $3.70/g
Platinum Today. Johnson Matthey, 2009. [See Figure 2 below. Note: mass is in Troy ounces.] $21.83/g

Gold, silver, platinum and palladium are all precious metals. Even though platinum is not as well-known as gold and silver, it is still regarded as one of the most precious metals. Because of platinum's rarity, it is even more precious than gold or silver.

Platinum is in Group 10 of the periodic table of elements. The symbol for platinum is Pt and its atomic number is 78. Platinum is a soft, dense and lustrous silvery-white transition metal. Platinum does not oxidize at any temperature and it is insoluble in hydrochloric and nitric acid. It is only soluble in aqua regia. Platinum can easily be mistaken as silver. The name of this element comes from its similarity to silver. It comes from the Spanish word "platina," which means little silver. The boiling point of platinum is 4098 K and the density is 21.45 grams per cubic centimeter.

Because platinum is resistant to oxidation and corrosion of high temperatures, a good conductor of electricity and an effective catalyzing agent, it has many uses. Platinum is used in jewelry, wire, electrical contacts, platinum resistance thermometers and laboratory instruments. It is perfect for making fine jewelry because it is durable and it does not tarnish. Platinum is extensively used as a catalyst. It is also used in catalytic converters. Catalytic converters can be found in the cars' exhaust systems. Platinum is used as a catalyst in the production of sulfuric acid, petroleum industry and fuel cells.

The price of platinum is unpredictable as oppose to the price of other precious metals. During the times of economic downturns, the price of gold usually increases. This causes the price of platinum to decrease to an amount that is below the price of gold. When the economy is stable, the price of platinum is most likely higher than gold, about twice the price of gold.

The current spot price of platinum, as of May 24, 2009, is $1151 per ounce in New York. Because ounce is not an SI unit, it is more appropriate to convert the unit to gram. In order to convert this price per ounce to price per gram, divide by 28.3495. Therefore, the current spot price of platinum, per gram, is approximately $41.


Figure 1: mass is in oz


Figure 2: mass is in Troy oz

Lina Nguyen -- 2009