46. Palladium - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

This site comprises 120 pages of text and photos, one for each element, and several pages for access. – For captions or explanatory texts move your mouse over illustrations, links etc.

Palladium – Palladium – Palladium – Paladio – パラジウム – Палладий – 鈀
Multilingual dictionary

Palladium Latin

— Germanic
Palladium Afrikaans
Palladium Danish
Palladium German
Palladium English
Palladium Faroese
Palladium Frisian (West)
Palladín Icelandic
Palladium Luxembourgish
Palladium Dutch
Palladium Norwegian
Palladium Swedish

— Italic
Paladio Aragonese
Paladiumu Aromanian
Paladiu Asturian
Palladi Catalan
Paladio Spanish
Palladium French
Paladi Friulian
Paladio Galician
Palladio Italian
Palàdi Lombard
Palladi Occitan
Paládio Portuguese
Paladiu Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Палладий [Palladij] Bulgarian
Paladij[um] Bosnian
Паладый [paladyj] Belarusian
Palladium Czech
Paladij Croatian
Pallôd Kashubian
Паладиум [Paladium] Macedonian
Pallad Polish
Палладий [Palladij] Russian
Paládium Slovak
Paladij Slovenian
Паладијум [Paladijum] Serbian
Паладій [paladij] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Paladis Lithuanian
Pallādijs Latvian
Paladis Samogitian

— Celtic
Palladiom Breton
Paladiwm Welsh
Pallaidiam Gaelic (Irish)
Pallaidiam Gaelic (Scottish)
Pallaadjum Gaelic (Manx)
Paladyum Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Παλλαδιο [palladio] Greek
Պալադիում [paladium] Armenian
Palad, ²Palladiumi Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Paladyûm Kurdish
Палладий [palladij] Ossetian
Палладий [Palladi'] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
প্যালাডিয়াম [pyālāḍiẏāma] Bengali
پالادیم [paladym] Persian
પલેડિયમનો [paleḍiyamano] Gujarati
पलाडियम [palāḍiyama] Hindi

Pallaadium Estonian
Palladium Finnish
Palládium Hungarian
Палладий [Palladij] Komi
Палладий [Palladij] Mari
Палади [paladi] Moksha
Pallaadium Võro

Palladium Azerbaijani
Паллади [Palladi] Chuvash
Палладий [palladij] Kazakh
Палладий [Palladij] Kyrgyz
Паллади [palladi] Mongolian
Palladyum Turkish
پاللادىي [palladiy] Uyghur
Paladiy Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Paladioa Basque
პალადიუმი [paladiumi] Georgian

بلاديوم [ballādiyūm] Arabic
פלדיום [paladium] Hebrew
Palladju[m] Maltese

Pâ (鈀) Hakka
パラジウム [parajiumu] Japanese
팔라듐 [palladyum] Korean
แพลเลเดียม [phaellēdiam/phaenlēdiam] Thai
Palađi Vietnamese
[ba3 / ba2] Chinese

Paladyo Cebuano
Paladium Indonesian
Palladium Māori
Paladium Malay

Other Asiatic
പലേഡിയം [palēḍiyam] Malayalam
பல்லேடியம் [pallēţiyam] Tamil

Paladu Lingala
Palladiamo Sesotho
Paladi Swahili

Paladio Nahuatl

Paladyu Quechua

Paladimi Sranan Tongo

Paladio Esperanto

New names
Paladion Atomic Elements
Orthodonium Dorseyville
memory peg

Highly reflective, white precious metal
melting point 1552 °C; 2826 °F
boiling point 3140 °C; 5684 °F
density 12.02 g/cc; 750.38 pounds/cubic foot
1803 William Hyde Wollaston, England
Pallas, asteroid discovered in 1802 (which was named after Παλλας Αθηνη [Pallas Athene], the Greek goddess of wisdom)

History & Etymology

Researching the waste solutions that remained after the precipitation of the platinum salt of sal ammoniac (see Platinum), the english chemist William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828) discovered in 1802 a new metal, which he called Palladium. He did not announce this discovery in the scholarly world, as one should expect, but advertised it for sale in an anonymous handbill, placed in the window of the Soho mineralogical shop of Jacob Forster in April 1803:

HAS these Properties amongst others that shew it to be


1. IT dissolves in pure Spirit of Nitre, and makes a dark red solution.
2. Green Vitriol throws it down in the state of a regulus from this solution, as it always does Gold from Aqua Regia.
3. IF you evaporate the solution you get a red calx that dissolves in Spirit of Salt or other acids.
4. IT is thrown down by quicksilver and by all the metals but Gold, Platina, and Silver.
5. ITS Specific Gravity by hammering was only 11.3, but by flatting as much as 11.8.
6. IN a common fire the face of it tarnishes a little and turns blue, but comes bright again, like other noble metals on being stronger heated.
7. THE greatest heat of a blacksmith's fire would hardly melt it;
8. BUT if you touch it while hot with a small bit of Sulphur it runs as easily as Zinc.

In Samples of Five Shillings, Half a Guinea, & One Guinea each.

This handbill was later published in Nicholson's Journal.

Richard Chenevix (1774-1830, also Chevenix Trench, Chenevix Trench, PvdK), an Irish chemist living in London, bought on 29 April 1803 one of the samples and found that it indeed was a new, unknown metal. Later, he bought the complete stock, researched it and presented his results to the Royal Society of London on 12 May 1803 (note). He begins his paper as follows:

On the 19th of April I learned, by a printed notice [text of handbill in a note] sent to Mr. Knox, that a substance, which was announced as a new metal, was to be sold at Mr. Forster's, in Gerrard-Street. The mode adopted to make known a discovery of so much importance, without the name of any creditable person except the vender, appeared to me unusual in science, and was not calculated to inspire confidence. It was therefore with a view to detect what I conceived to be an imposition, that I procured a specimen, and undertook some experiments to learn its properties and nature.
I had not proceed very far, when I perceived that the effects produced by this substance, upon the various tests, were such as could not be referred, in toto, to any of the known metallic substances. I immediately returned to Mr. Forster, and became possessed of the whole quantity which had been left in his hands for sale. I could not obtain any information as to its natural state, or any trace that might lead to a probable conjecture (p. 290-291).
After his experiments he decided that it was not a simple body as claimed, but an alloy of Mercury with Platinum:
...when we learn that palladium is not, as was shamefully announced, a new simple metal, but an alloy of platina; and that the substance which can thus mask the most characteristic properties of that metal, while it loses the greater number of its own, is mercury. (p. 297-298)
The supplier of the new metal was perpetrating a fraud, he thought. Elsewhere, Chenevix even suggested that the Palladium came from someone "without education, ... [whose] chemical language and phrases sound like Alchemy", maybe even "a hair dresser at Islington".
The discoverer defended himself in an anonymous letter, dated 16 December 1803, and offered a reward of £20 for the one who could make Palladium from Platinum and Mercury (note). In the following discussion many famous chemists were involved, however, nobody succeeded in making Palladium. In a second address to the the Royal Society at 10 January 1805 Chenevix defended himself (note). In a Postscript to the published version he said that he has read his paper, "Dr. Wollaston has published some experiments on platina. He has found that palladium is contained in very small quantities in crude platina. This fact was mentioned to me more than a year ago by Dr. Wollaston." In the mean time, Wollaston had presented the result of a research in 1804, read 24 June 1804, announcing his discovery of Rhodium, but still was silent about the fact that he was the discoverer of Palladium. He mentions Palladium as follows:

Finally, in a letter of 23 February 1805 to W. Nicholson, Wollaston confessed that he was the discoverer (note):
...a proportional quantity of platina ... was purchased by me a few years since, with the design of rendering it malleable for the different purposes to which it is adapted. That object has now been attained, and during the solution of it, various unforeseen appearances occurred, some of which led to the discovery of palladium; but there were other circumstances which could not be accounted for by the existence of that metal alone. On this, and other accounts, I endeavoured to reserve to myself a deliberate examination of these difficulties which the subsequent discovery of a second new metal, that I have called rhodium...
Thereafter, on 5 July 1805, Wollaston read a paper "On the Discovery of Palladium" (note), where he said to be the discoverer of palladium:

As reason for keeping it secret he wrote that he wanted to do quietly further research:
When I found all my endeavours directed to that end wholly unsuccessful, I no longer entertained any doubt of this substance being a new simple metal, and accordingly published a concise delineation of its character; but by not directing the attention of chemists to the substance from which it had been extracted, I reserved to myself an opportunity of examining more at leisure many anomalous phenomena, that had occurred to me in the analysis of platina, which I was at a loss to explain, until I had learned to distinguish those peculiarities, that I afterwards found to arise from the presence of rhodium (p. 326).
More probably is that he wanted to make his discovery known to the world, but in a way that would reveal as little as possible of the secret platinum business, he had formed in 1800 with Smithson Tennant (see Platinum).

Wollaston's notebooks are preserved. In these book he first mentions his discovery in July 1802 calling the new element simply "C". Later he wrote on the next page "The upper part of opposite page was written July 1802. I believe the C meant Ceresium a name which I once thought of giving to Palladium" The first name was after the recently discovered asteroid Ceres (discovered 1 January 1801). By August 1802 he had renamed the metal Palladium after another astroid, discovered more recently on 28 March 1802.

Palladium in particular has a remarkable history and is surely the only element of the 114 we now know that was isolated and then, instead of its discovery being announced and published in a learned journal, was advertised for sale, causing the furore outlined above. Wollaston's motives in doing this, and the way that he conducted the whole affair, still remain obscure (Griffith, 2003).

The new element was named Palladium in honor of the newly discovered asteroid Pallas. This asteroid (diameter 538 km) was discovered by Wilhelm Olbers in March 1802 almost simultaneously with the element. It is the second largest asteroid and second asteroid discovered. Olbers named the asteroid after Παλλας Αθηνη [Pallas Athene], the Greek goddess of wisdom. Wollaston's father, the Rev. Francis Wollaston (17311815), rector of Chislehurst, was an enthusiastic astronomer and had a private observatory. In 1811 he published a star atlas, A Portraiture of the Heavens. Also William H. Wollaston himself did astronomical work, he was the first, in 1802, to observe the dark lines in the solar spectrum. This may explain the naming after the latest discovered celestial body.


Chemistianity 1873
PALLADIUM, Platinum's cozening cousin,
Is a white metal but darker than Platinum,
About as hard but not quite so ductile;
It forges, and partly oxides in the forge fire,
Like Silver it "spits" absorbed Oxygen.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 177
(* in the book misprinted as WAYAN)

Further reading
  • Griffith, W.P., Bicentenary of Four Platinum Group Metals, Part I: Rhodium and Palladium events surrounding their discoveries. In: Platinum Metals Review 47, 4 (October 2003): 175-183 (on-line).
  • International Platinum Association, Palladium History (on-line).
  • Platinum. Gmelins Handbuch der anorganische Chemie, 8. Aufl.; System-Nummer 68 (1951), Pt. A. pp. 9-11.
  • Robertson Research Int'l Ltd., Dr. Rob's Chem4all, Quote of the week
  • Usselman, Melvyn, "A secret history of platinum". Chembytes e-zine, December 2001 (on-line).
  • Weeks, Mary Elvira, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 407-410.
  • White, A.M., & H.B. Friedman, "The Discovery of Palladium" Journal of Chemical Education 9, 2 (1932), pp. 236-245.

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements