Apr 15, 2013

Noble metals

The noble metals are gold, silver, mercury, and the platinum group (including palladium, iridium, rhodium, ruthenium, and osmium). The term refers to those metals highly resistant to chemical reaction or oxidation (resistant to corrosion) and is contrasted to "base" metals which are not so resistant. The term has its origins in ancient alchemy whose goals of transformation and perfection were pursued through the different properties of metals and chemicals. The term is not synonymous with "precious metals," although a metal, like platinum, may be both. (The Handy Science Answer Book, compiled by the Science and Technology department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh)