OPEN THREAD 20191222

Basically, all legal free speech is allowed. We will assist the authorities in dealing with illegal speech. You are each other’s moderators. Have fun. And don’t forget to MAGA at nuclear levels.

Citizen U

Day 46 – PALLADIUM.

14 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20191222

  1. I’ve always thought that palladium sounded like a venue for some sort of sporting event. Perhaps, with a nod to Poe, competitive sculpting [“On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door”].

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  2. Palladium is named after the asteroid Pallas, which is named after the Greek Goddess Athena’s title “Pallas”, which is named in memory of Athena’s childhood bestie (and fellow goddess) Pallas, whom Athena accidentally speared while they were playing around and Zeus flipped his aegis at Pallas, causing her momentary distraction.

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  3. Palladium’s major industrial use these days is in catalytic converters, and a major source of palladium is recycling catalytic converters. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the same is true of yesterday’s element, rhodium. Oddly enough, both were isolated by the same guy, William Hyde Wollaston, palladium in late 1802 and rhodium in 1803.

    The methods he used are intriguingly simple in description — in essence, he would take a pile of mixed metals and partially dissolve it in something like not quite enough aqua regia. This was asking the aqua regia, “what would you rather dissolve in this pile, the rhodium or the palladium?” Then he could take the dissolved part over to a different workbench and go, “which would you rather have, palladium or zinc?” and have the aqua regia varf out the palladium and snarf up the zinc. This is, by the way, “wet methods” for metal refiners.

    The apparent simplicity, however, belies the fact that he was starting with a bunch of mine tailings that looked like dirt and looking for mysterious substances no one had ever seen before. Each step looks simple, the reactants are not particularly complex, and — now that the end products are fully documented — they all make perfect sense. I suspect that going into the process was more like, “Sirrah, I bee alchymste — hast thou neede of Arte such as myne?”

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  4. The Wikipedia article — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palladium — also has a charming tale. It seems that once Wollaston got the hang of the process for palladium, he made a bunch of it…..and put it up for sale as “a new element, palladium” in a shop in SOHO in April 1803. He got a rival scientist to take the bait — calling “the new element” a fraud and merely an alloy of platinum and mercury — then twisted the knife by anonymously offering to purchase a sample of any new platinum/mercury alloys with the same characteristics. The rival scientist received the Copley Medal in 1803 (from the Royal society — it’s been going for 288 years and is very prestigious) for his papers about playing around with palladium.

    In 1804, Wollaston disclosed his isolation of rhodium in a paper that casually noted his prior working with palladium. Only in 1805 did Wollaston disclose that he’d discovered palladium in 1802. I’m sure there were many discussions about what a genius one must be to write papers about an element after someone else has provided you with a pure sample.

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  5. Dark to Light

    A lot has happened in the last week, last few weeks… Peach Cobbler, Chick-fil-A, Hallmark, Christianity Today being exposed as FAKE CHRISTIAN, Dr. Lopez and the Southern Baptist Convention, and Tucker Carlson exposing the FAKE CONSERVATIVES in DC:

    The amount of spiritual warfare has been intense.

    It’s time to fight back.

    It’s time for some WINNING.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I try to bring some personal experience to every element, so I’m going to veer off into a discussion of surface-mount electronics. I’ll even tell you the palladium angle up front — they’re used as the connects for multi-layer ceramic chip capacitors [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceramic_capacitor#Multi-layer_ceramic_capacitors_(MLCC) ].

    I’ve been going to Maker Faires in the Bay Area since the first one — and there’s always a couple of guys who are using toaster ovens to do Surface Mount Technology (SMT). It really isn’t difficult, but it’s clever.

    When you conventionally solder a component with leads (also known as a leaded component, though no lead is involved) to a circuit board, you apply a soldering iron to the lead and to the board until they are both hot enough to melt the solder, then you touch the solder into the connection, it melts, and capillary action electronically and physically connects the lead and its connection. Common failure is “cold joint”, where either the circuit board or the lead is not hot enough to allow good solder flow.

    If you’re doing production, you might go to “wave solder”. You take a rectangular bucket of solder and shake it back and forth until you get a “standing wave” — one that doesn’t move because whenever it thinks about moving left the bucket is already moving right. And here’s the fun bit — the wave is actually higher than the edge of the bucket. If you have a transport belt that you can adjust where the top of the wave just kisses the bottom of the pc boards above it, you can solder every through-hole connection on a PC board in one pass.

    And, then, there’s SMT. There are no holes, there are no leads, there are “pads”. You use a metal screen to put “solder paste” on all the pads in a manner very similar to silkscreening. All the components are squnched into the paste using “pick-and-place” — typically one end per pad, but in the case of IC’s, one lead per pad. The whole thing is loaded into a heating arrangement and heated up to a level well below the failure temp of all components. It is then heated (from the top) to the temperature at which the solder paste melts (hopefully not cooking the components in the process), and then cooled back down slowly so that the melted paste can go everywhere it needs to be.

    From running a manufacturing facility in the 1990s, probably 90% of our device failures on SMT boards were from chip caps. Either the stupid things would delaminate under the heat, or the ends would melt off (palladium). Engineering guys have this weird outlook on accountants that they insist on making every component as cheap as possible. How cheap is a four cent chip cap when it causes the failure of a nine dollar board?

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  7. Palladium, of course was briefly famous in the late 1980s when cold fusion was announced. The price shot up from $120 per troy ounce to $180 overnight.

    Its price exceeded gold for a brief while sometime in the nineties then went back to sleep, But now for a couple of years (at least!) it has been much higher than gold’s price. Meanwhile platinum is now considerably LESS expensive than gold.

    Ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium and platinum are the “platinum group metals”; they tend to be found together in nature, Rh, Pd, Os and Ir were all discovered at about the same time, for some reason ruthenium took considerably longer.

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