Of the precious metals we refine here at Manhattan Gold & Silver, palladium is the least well known. Perhaps that’s because it tends to play second fiddle in articles of jewelry. For example, palladium is often alloyed with gold to make white gold, but there are not many pure palladium pieces of jewelry. However, as we’ve come to see with other precious metals, there are many other applications for palladium besides jewelry.
The most common use for palladium is in catalytic converters for automobiles and other engine equipped machines. A catalytic converter contains catalysts which convert (hence, the name) the toxic substances in engine exhaust into inert or less toxic substances. This produces a cleaner exhaust that conforms to EPA standards. Catalytic converters can use a number of different catalysts, but palladium is among the cheapest and most effective. Interestingly, catalytic converters are one of the top uses for palladium, and reclaimed catalytic converters are a big source of palladium.
Another common use for palladium is in multilayer ceramic capacitors. These are an important part of common electronics equipment such as cell phones, laptops, fax machines, etc. Palladium is also used in connector plating for a number of electronics.
Palladium’s applications in chemistry and electronics indicate that it may become even more useful as technology progresses. Right now, palladium is being studied to find its potential for use in fuel cells and for hydrogen storage. It just may be the metal of the future. Please keep in mind we do not refine catalytic converters. However, we do process palladium dental and jewelry material, also other high-grade industrial palladium products.