Our Earth is enriched with resources that are useful to us in many different ways. Each mineral and compound in our Earth’s crust is just another tool for us to progress further as a species.
This includes the ever-so-important material called metal. Each metal has its unique properties and has found usage in our daily lives.
But some of these metals are more valuable than the others, so much so that there is a drastic difference in their prices.
So today we will be looking at the most expensive metals in the world. These are metals that are mostly utilized for their ornamental value and their uses in the field of science and technology.
Indium is a soft, silvery metal that was discovered by Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymous Theodor in 1863. Known as the softest non-alkali metal in the world, it is a by-product of the Zinc refinement process.
Indium was first used as a coating agent for bearings that were used in World War 2 aircraft.
However, nowadays Indium has a demand for usage in various types of semiconductors and can also be used in batteries as a mercury substitute.
Silver is a very common yet precious shiny metal that has the best electrical and thermal conductivity on the planet.
Silver is found either as an alloy or in minerals such as Argentite, but most silver is produced as a by-product of gold and copper refining. Silver has a multitude of uses, ranging from ornaments to bullion coins to cutlery to decoration for confectionery items.
Silver, due to its conductivity properties, is useful in electroplating, vacuum tubes, and circuits.
Rhenium is one of the rarest elements in the Earth’s crust, and this is one of the reasons why it is so expensive. Rhenium is a by-product of the copper and molybdenum refinement process.
Named after the Rhine river in Europe, Rhenium is used in making turbine engines and Nickel-based superalloys.
Rhenium isotopes are also useful in the treatment of cancer, and Rhenium is also used in catalysis processes.
Palladium is a shiny, grayish-colored metal that is a part of a group of metals known as the Platinum group and has the lowest melting point out of all of them.
Palladium is a soft and ductile metal, and somewhat resembles platinum in appearance, and its strength can be increased by cold-working the metal.
Palladium is mainly used today in Catalytic converters which can reduce environmental emissions and is also used to make expensive jewelry, dental alloys, and photographic prints.
Osmium is a bluish-white brittle metal that is found in platinum ores and is only available 0.6 parts per billion in the world.
Osmium is one of the rarest metals on the planet and is only found in natural alloys such as copper and nickel, as well as in osmiridium and iridosmium.
Osmium is very toxic in its natural state, hence most of its applications are found in an alloy state, such as an osmiridium is used with platinum alloy metals to make fountain pen tips and electrical contacts.
Osmium is also used in fingerprint detection and electron microscopy.
Iridium is a silvery flaky metal that is found in meteorites. It is another member of the platinum metals family and is a very dense metal by nature.
Iridium is the most corrosion resistant metal on Earth. Iridium finds uses in compass bearings, balances, pens, watches, and making crucibles.
Iridium is also used for treatment of cancer due to the gamma rays it radiates, and it is also used in catalysts to make acetic acid.
Ruthenium is a member of the platinum metals family, discovered by Karl Ernst Claus in 1844, and is named in honor of the country Russia. It is a silvery metal that helps in improving the hardness and corrosion resistance of its platinum neighbours such as titanium and palladium.
Ruthenium has many uses, although it is mostly used in conjunction with other metals.
It is used in electrical contacts with palladium and platinum alloys, and its superalloy version is also used in jet engines.
Ruthenium is also good at absorbing light, so studies are being made to see if it can be used in solar cell applications.
The everlasting novelty called gold is next on our list, a timeless metal that is highly malleable, soft, and ductile.
Gold is found on Earth in a number of different forms, such as its native form, rocks, in alloys with copper and palladium, and even in salt depositions. For ages, gold has been used as an ornamental metal, also being used as forms of currency throughout different periods of history.
Even to this day, gold is a prized possession for people and is the main seller of jewelry. Besides that, due to its high conductivity and resistance properties it is also used in electronic devices.
Gold has also been used in the past in medicine, treating problems such as depression, epilepsy, and migraine. Nowadays, it is mostly seen as a popular filling material in dental fissures.
The only metal that can outshine gold in the ornamental department is platinum, our no. 2 pick for the most expensive metals in the world. A silvery white metal, platinum is also a rare metal found in the Earth’s crust in only some copper and nickel ores.
It is extremely non-corrosive, malleable and ductile, which is why it is also called a noble metal.
Even though platinum is widely popular for its jewelry products, platinum is also very useful in making chemical catalysts, turbine engines, and even as a standard for the definition of meter through the use of a platinum-iridium metal bar.
The most expensive metal in the world, Rhodium, is a silvery white metal usually found in its natural, free form. Even in that form, Rhodium is one of the rarest metals on Earth.
Rhodium was found in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston, and is a part of the platinum family.
Rhodium is used as a corrosion-resistant coating along with platinum or palladium. Rhodium is also used as a decorative metal, usually electroplated on metal materials such as white gold to give a smooth, radiant finish.