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Analysis of Platinum Group Metals by ICP-OES

This application note demonstrates the ability of the Thermo Scientific iCAP 7400 ICP-OES to perform with excellent accuracy in high concentration matrices of PGM samples where typically a radial instrument is used.

The platinum group metals, or PGMs as they are sometimes referred to, are a collective of metals grouped together in the middle of the periodic table. The six elements normally included in the group are all transition metals with some similar chemical and physical properties. Generally, this group is assumed to include platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, ruthenium and osmium; all have become valuable and extremely useful to industry (and civilization in general) because of their elemental properties, rarity and beauty. The platinum group metals have applications both exotic and mundane. The jewelry industry has been utilizing the PGM’s anti-corrosive properties to great effect since the mid-nineteenth century and producing hallmarked items in Britain since 1975. Many of the industrial applications of the platinum group metals utilize an alloy combination of two or more metals. A wide range of PGM alloy compositions are used in electronic applications such as low voltage and low-energy contacts, thermocouples, furnace components and electrodes. The chemical and petrochemical industries use the PGM’s extraordinary catalytic properties for processes such as refining crude oil, to produce a large number of synthetic organic chemicals and substances such as chlorine and caustic chemicals1 . Since 1979, the automotive industry has become the largest consumer of the platinum group metals with the advent of the catalytic converters in car exhaust systems. The PGMs are used as oxidation catalysts to reduce the potentially noxious emissions from exhausts.

The goal of this study is to demonstrate the ability of the Thermo Scientific iCAP 7400 ICP-OES Duo to perform with excellent accuracy in high concentration matrices of PGM samples where traditionally a radial instrument would be used.

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