Difference Between Rhodium and Silver

Main difference

The main difference between rhodium and silver is that rhodium is a hard metal with high melting and boiling points while silver is a soft metal with low melting and boiling points.

Rhodium vs Silver

Rhodium is one of the rarest precious metals. Silver is the most reflective element. Rhodium is a hard metal, while silver is a soft metal. Rhodium has high melting and boiling points compared to silver. Rhodium is the 45th element in the periodic table. The number of protons for silver is 47. Rh is the symbol for rhodium. The chemical formula for silver is Ag. Rhodium has 24 isotopes and Rh-103 is a stable isotope. Silver has 36 isotopes and two stable isotopes. Rhodium is very impermeable to air. Silver is less impermeable to air. Rhodium is expensive than silver.

Rhodium is very resistant to corrosion. The sulfur compounds in silver react with air and wear out over time. Rhodium is an inert metal, while silver tends to chemical reactions. Rhodium is hard but can be broken easily, while silver is soft, it can be made into sheets and wires. One of the best uses of rhodium is in industrial catalyst and catalytic converters in vehicle engines. Silver is best for mirror making and digital photography.

Jewelry made of rhodium is resistant to corrosion. Silver and sterling silver jewelry corrodes easily. Rhodium and its alloy with platinum are ingredients for cardiac pacemakers. Silver finds its medical use as dental alloys and pharmaceutical industries. Rhodium is paramagnetic, it shows weak magnetic properties. Silver is diamagnetic, which means that it is not magnetic. The main use of rhodium is in the aerospace, automotive, chemical, and electronic industries, while the main use of silver is in the chemical, clothing, and electrical industries.

Comparison chart

Rhodium Silver
Rhodium is a hard or silvery-white reflective metal. Silver is a smooth, shiny and highly reflective metal.
Atomic number
Four. Five 47
Rh Ag
Melting point
1963°C 961°C
Boiling point
3695°C 2162°C
24 36
stable isotopes
One Two
do not form oxides form unstable oxides
does not rust It rusts easily
Expensive less expensive
does not react chemically May react with other elements.
Fragile malleable and ductile
Used in catalytic converters, catalyst in industries. High-quality jewelry and mirrors
medical use
cardiac pacemaker Dental and pharmaceutical use
Aerospace, automotive and electronics industry Chemical, clothing and electrical industry
Magnetic Property
Paramagnetic diamagnetic

What is rhodium?

The discovery of rhodium is rewarded by a great English chemist William Hyde Wollaston. He separated the rhodium from the platinum plate. Rhodium is present along with platinum, mined from ores and refining platinum. Rhodium is a silvery-white reflective metal that is highly resistant to corrosion. It is rare and one of the world’s precious metals. Rhodium belongs to the d block of the periodic table and has an atomic number of 45. Its chemical form is Rh. Exists as a solid at 25 °C

Rhodium has 24 isotopes and only stable isotopes. Rhodium is a noble metal, which means that it does not react with oxygen to form oxides. It is an extraordinary catalyst in chemical reactions. Some of its derivatives are toxic, cause cancer. It is highly impervious to both corrosion and oxidation. Water and air have no effect on rhodium. Rhodium is seldom used on its own, mostly used as an alloy. Heating can quickly break down rhodium compounds and turn them into powder.

Rhodium also finds its medical uses. Its alloy with platinum is used in cardiac pacemakers. Its main use is in catalytic converters, it reduces nitrogen oxide to clean the gas emission of the vehicle. Therefore, it is an ecological element. Rhodium plays a role in many industries such as aerospace, automotive, chemical, and electronics. In the synthesis of nitric acid, acetic acid and hydrogenation reaction, rhodium is the best catalyst. It is very resistant to corrosion and has less resistance to electricity, so it is used as an electrical contact material.

What is silver?

Silver belongs to the 11th group and 5th period of the periodic table It belongs to the d block of the periodic table, which exists as a solid at room temperature. Silver is a shiny and highly reflective soft metal. Its chemical denotation is Ag. Silver occurs as an individual element, sometimes in minerals such as argentite. It is separated from lead, zinc, copper and gold ores or mined as a by-product of their mining. Electrolytic refining of copper also produces silver.

Silver tarnishes quickly as its sulfur compounds react with air, turning it into black silver sulfide. Silver has antibacterial properties, it kills microorganisms quickly. Argyria is a skin condition that results from the chronic accumulation of silver in the body. Its symptoms include discoloration of body parts, grayish pigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes. Silver is used in the clothing industry to overcome sweat disorders in clothing caused by bacteria.

The silver is woven into yarn, which is used to make gloves that reduce the impediment of using touch screens. Sterling silver is an alloy made up of silver and copper. It is 92% silver, while another element is copper. Sterling silver is the best for making jewelry. Silver is also applied in electric batteries, dental alloys, and brazing alloys. Silver is the most reflective element used for mirrors, but it is less resistant to corrosion. Due to its sensitivity to light, it finds its scope in digital photography.

Key differences

  1. Rhodium is a rare metal mined from platinum; In contrast, silver is a highly reflective soft metal.
  2. Rhodium occupies position 45 on the periodic table, while silver’s atomic number is 47.
  3. Rhodium is denoted as Rh; on the other hand, the symbol for silver is Ag.
  4. Rhodium has a high melting point which is 1963°C while the melting point of silver is 961°C.
  5. Rhodium has a high boiling point; on the other hand, silver has a low boiling point.
  6. Rhodium has 24 isotopes, while the number of isotopes for silver is 36.
  7. Rhodium-103 is a stable isotope of rhodium, while there are two stable isotopes of silver.
  8. Rhodium is a noble element, meaning it does not react with oxygen to form oxides; on the other hand, silver forms unstable oxides.
  9. Rhodium is resistant to corrosion; On the other hand, silver can be easily oxidized.
  10. Rhodium is rare and expensive; Conversely, silver is also expensive but less so than rhodium.
  11. Rhodium is an inert element, while silver can react with other elements.
  12. Rhodium is a hard metal but can be easily broken, while silver is a malleable and ductile metal that can be easily modified.
  13. Rhodium plays a major role as catalytic converters and catalysts in chemical industries, conversely silver is soft and reflective and is used in jewelry and mirror making.
  14. The platinum-rhodium alloy is a component of cardiac pacemakers, while silver is useful in the dental and pharmaceutical fields.
  15. Rhodium is commonly used in the aerospace, automotive, chemical, and electronic industries, while silver is an auxiliary element in the chemical, clothing, and electrical industries.
  16. Rhodium has little attraction to the magnet, while silver is a non-magnetic element.

Final Thought

Rhodium and silver are both metals. Rhodium is a rare and precious metal extracted from platinum, characterized by being a hard and brittle metal. Silver is a soft, reflective and shiny metal that is used for the synthesis of jewelry and mirrors.

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