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Pallas Athene, the Greek goddess of wisdom
mineral; inorganic, platinum group
History and authority: Introduced and proved by Hering: Guiding Symptoms, Vol. VIII, 247; Clarke: A Dictionery of Pract. Mat. Med. Vol. II, 711.
Description of the substance
Like platinum, palladium has a natural white lustre. Although it has the lowest melting point of all platinum group metals (PGMs) and is also the least dense, palladium's remarkable qualities mean that it is no less crucial in a number of important applications.
Its melting point is still high compared with other popular metals (for example, over four and half times that of lead) and it has high temperature stability and corrosion resistance. The rarest of all PGMs apart from iridium, palladium is also a good oxidation catalyst, conductive, oxidation resistant and ductile when annealed.
But its most incredible property is the ability to absorb 900 times its own volume of hydrogen at room temperature. This makes palladium an efficient and safe hydrogen storage medium and purifier. It is also used in chemical processes that require hydrogen exchange between two reactants, such as that which produces butadiene and cyclohexane, the raw materials for synthetic rubber and nylon.
Palladium's catalytic qualities find it playing a key role in catalytic converters and air purification equipment. Its chemical stability and electrical conductivity make it a more effective and durable plating than gold in electronic components.