New catalyst to significantly reduce use of precious metals

Honda Motortoday announced the development of a new catalyst which reduces by 50% the use of rhodium, one of the precious metals used in a catalyst. Honda will adopt this new catalyst first to the North American version of the all-new 2013 Accord, which will go on sale in the United States on September 19, 2012, and will continue to adopt it sequentially to other models.

With the backdrop of the increasing volume of global automobile production and the global trend of strengthening emission regulations, the demand for precious metals used for catalyst, including platinum, rhodium and palladium, is expected to continue to increase in the future. Honda has been committed to the effort to reduce the use of precious metals for its catalysts, and has successfully applied a catalyst that does not contain any platinum into practical use with the current model of the North American Accord.

The newly developed catalyst allows palladium to speed up the process of absorption and desorption of oxygen, therefore enabling reduced use of rhodium in the purification of exhaust emissions. The adoption of this new catalyst will reduce overall use of precious metals by 22% (including a 50% reduction in rhodium) compared to the current model of Accord. Moreover, the development of the new catalyst has reduced the cost by 37% while complying with the California state standards in SULEV category of the LEV II regulation, which is one of the strictest emissions regulation in the world.

Palladium Jewelry Facts

Palladium is a lustrous silvery white metal with the atomic number 46 and chemical abbreviation of Pd. Because the metal is extremely rare, palladium is considered to be a precious metal, and it can command a high price on the open market. It is used in electronics, jewelry, and certain other industries. The growing popularity of the metal jewelry has led many to wonder about this “new” metal. This sleeper silver-white metal owes its existence to another, better-known precious metal, and its renewed popularity to better technology.

History
The metal was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston, who named it palladium after the asteroid Pallas. Jewelers used it for jewelry as early as the Victorian era. After World War II, when the war effort called for platinum, the chemical emerged as a viable alternative white metal, especially for use in fine jewelry and wedding jewelry. The re-emergence of platinum for jewelry in the 1980s and 1990s made lower-cost alternative white metals return in popularity as well.

Features
The metal resists tarnish, and is extremely ductile, meaning that it takes readily to working. When palladium is cold worked, the tensile strength greatly increases. The asteroid, in turn, was named for a Greek Goddess of Wisdom. It often occurs in conjunction with platinum, and it is frequently associated with gold, nickel, and copper. Its true, white-silver appearance rarely tarnishes and needs no plating to retain its color.

Market
Palladium
is anything but a newcomer to the jewelry market. Two factors, however, contributed to the disappearance of the substance on the jewelry market during the last half of the 20th century. These were the difficulty to create a palladium alloy for mass-market jewelry, and the increasing popularity of gold jewelry.

White gold, which is actually yellow gold alloyed with other white metals, made a comeback, as did silver. However, the fact that white gold is rarely “white” and retains a yellowish cast unless plated with rhodium, and the fact that sterling silver is neither precious nor as durable as gold or platinum, opened the market for the reappearance of palladium.