Our last post went over some technologies made possible by platinum compounds. In this article, we’ll look at some technologies that utilize platinum that hasn’t been chemically altered. Since the price of platinum maintains a consistent high, these applications use a minimal amount of the metal. Still, without platinum (even small amounts) these technologies wouldn’t be possible.
Like gold and silver, platinum has a range of uses in the healthcare industry because it can be fabricated into small, complex components with good electrical conductivity. Platinum also resists heat, acid, and corrosion very well – so it can withstand the environment of the human body easily.
The most common medical applications for platinum include dental implants, like inlays, bridges, and crowns. In pacemaker devices, platinum/iridium electrodes are used to help the heart maintain a normal rhythm. Also, the catheters used for minimally-invasive heart surgery have platinum marker bands and guide wires. These show up well in x-ray images so surgeons can safely navigate the catheter during the procedure.
Most computers contain gold-plated connections and wiring. In addition, the hard disk drive, or HDD, uses a cobalt/chromium/platinum alloy for its magnetic storage layer. The platinum in the alloy gives the layer much needed thermal stability – ensuring that data stays intact throughout temperature fluctuations.
Glassmaking involves an extremely high-temperature environment, much like metal refining. The vessels that hold and form molten glass contain platinum alloys. Because platinum has a melting point of 3214.9 °F, the vessels can resist the high temperatures of the furnace and the hot glass.