Chemistry

Difference Between Rhodium and Silver

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Main Difference

The main difference between Rhodium and Silver is that Rhodium is a hard metal with high melting and boiling points, whereas Silver is a soft metal with low melting and boiling points.

Rhodium vs. Silver

Rhodium is one of the rarest and 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 in comparison with silver. Rhodium is the 45th element in the periodic table. The proton number of silver is 47. Rh is the symbol of Rhodium. The chemical formula of silver is Ag. Rhodium has 24 isotopes, and Rh-103 is a stable isotope. Silver has 36 isotopes and two stable isotopes. Rhodium is highly impervious to air. Silver is less impervious to air. Rhodium is expensive than silver.

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Rhodium is highly corrosion resistant. The sulfur compounds of silver react with air and wear down with time. Rhodium is an inert metal, whereas silver tends to chemical reactions. Rhodium is hard but can be broken easily, while silver is soft, can be turned into sheets and wires. One of the best use of rhodium is the industrial catalyst and catalytic converts in vehicle engines. Silver is best for mirrors making and digital photography.

Jewelry made of rhodium is resistant to corrosion. The jewelry of silver and sterling silver corrodes readily. Rhodium and its alloy with platinum are ingredients for heart pacemakers. Silver finds its medical usage as dental alloys and pharmaceutical industries. Rhodium is paramagnetic, shows weak magnetic properties. Silver is diamagnetic, which means it is non-magnetic. The primary use of rhodium is in aerospace, automobile, chemical, and electronic industry, whereas the primary use of silver is in chemical, clothing, and electrical industry.

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Comparison Chart

RhodiumSilver
Rhodium is a hard or silvery-white reflective metalSilver is a soft, shiny, and highly reflective metal
Atomic Number
4547
Symbol
RhAg
Melting Point
1963 °C961 °C
Boiling Point
3695 °C2162 °C
Isotopes
2436
Stable Isotopes
OneTwo
Oxides
Do not form oxidesForm unstable oxides
Rusting
Do not rustRust easily
Price
ExpensiveLess expensive
Inertness
Does not react chemicallyCan react with other elements
Property
BrittleMalleable and ductile
Benefits
Used in catalytic converters, catalyst in industriesJewelry and high-quality mirrors
Medical Use
Heart pacemakersDental and pharmaceutical usage
Industries
Aerospace, automobile, and electronic industryChemical, clothing, and electrical industry
Magnetic Property
ParamagneticDiamagnetic

What is Rhodium?

The discovery of rhodium is rewarded to a great English chemist William Hyde Wollaston. He separated rhodium from the platinum plate. Rhodium is present along with platinum, extracted from mineral ores, and refining of platinum. Rhodium is a silvery-white reflective metal, highly resistant to corrosion. It is rare and one of the precious metals worldwide. Rhodium belongs from the d-block of the periodic table, having 45 atomic number. Its chemical presentation is Rh. It exists as solid at 25 °C

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Rhodium has 24 isotopes and has only stable isotope. Rhodium is a noble metal, which means 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 do not pose any effect on rhodium. Rhodium is rarely used alone, mostly its use is in the form of an alloy. Heating can quickly decompose rhodium compounds and convert them in powder form.

Rhodium also finds its medical uses. Its alloy with platinum is used in heart pacemakers. Its primary use is in catalytic converters, reduce nitrogen oxide to clean the vehicle gas emission. Hence, it is an environmentally friendly element. Rhodium plays a role in many industries like aerospace, automobile, chemical, and electronic industry. In the synthesis of nitric acid, acetic acid, and hydrogenation reaction, rhodium is the best catalyst. It is highly resistant to corrosion and possesses less resistance for electricity, hence used as electrical contact material.

What is Silver?

Silver belongs to the 11 group and 5th period of the periodic table. It belongs to d-block in the periodic table, which exists as 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 ores like argentite. It separates from lead, zinc, copper, and gold ores or extracted as a by-product of their mining. Electrolytic refining of copper also produces silver.

Silver wears rapidly as its sulfur compounds react with air, turning it into black silver sulfide. Silver has anti-bacterial property, kills the 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, greyish pigmentation of the skin and mucous membrane. Silver is used in the clothing industry, to overcome the sweat disorders in cloths produced by bacteria.

Silver is woven into thread, used for making gloves that reduce the hindrance of using touchscreens. Sterling silver is an alloy made up of silver and copper. It is 92% silver, while another element is copper. Sterling silver is best for jewelry making. Silver is also applicable in electric batteries, dental alloys, and brazing alloys. Silver is the most reflective element used for mirrors, but it is less resistant to corrosion. Because of its sensitivity for light, it finds its scope in digital photography.

Key Differences

  1. Rhodium is a rare metal extracted from platinum; conversely, silver is a highly reflective soft metal.
  2. Rhodium occupies 45th position in the periodic table, whereas the atomic number of silver is 47.
  3. Rhodium is denoted as Rh; on the flip side, the symbol of silver is Ag.
  4. Rhodium has a high melting point that is 1963 °C, whereas the melting point of silver is 961 °
  5. Rhodium has a high boiling point; on the other hand, silver has a low boiling point.
  6. Rhodium has 24 isotopes, whereas the number of isotopes of 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, means it does not react with oxygen to form oxides; on the other hand, silver form unstable oxides.
  9. Rhodium is resistant to corrosion; on the flip side, silver can rust easily.
  10. Rhodium is rare and expensive; conversely, silver is also expensive but less than rhodium.
  11. Rhodium is an inert element, whereas silver can react with other elements.
  12. Rhodium is a hard metal but can be broken easily, while silver is a malleable and ductile metal that can be modified easily.
  13. Rhodium plays a primary role as catalytic converts and catalysts in chemical industries, conversely silver being soft and reflective used in jewelry and mirror making.
  14. Rhodium’s alloy with platinum is a component for heart pacemakers, whereas silver is useful for dental and pharmaceutical fields.
  15. Rhodium is commonly used in aerospace, automobile, chemical, and electronic industry on the flip side silver is helping element in chemical, clothing, and electrical industry.
  16. Rhodium has little attraction towards magnet whereas silver is a non-magnetic element

Conclusion

Rhodium and Silver are both metals. Rhodium is a rare and precious metal extracted from platinum, characterized as hard and brittle metal. Silver is soft, reflective, and lustrous metal, used for jewelry and mirrors synthesis.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss