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Author Topic: Platinum found in great quantities on roadsides  (Read 6355 times)

Offline Exodus

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Platinum found in great quantities on roadsides
« on: 04/07/2004 09:16:19 »
You may have heard of streets paved with gold. How about platinum?

University of Notre Dame student researchers Brian Bucher and Susan Dahlheimer are finding it all over town this summer.

Notre Dame researchers first discovered the precious metal on the sides of roads around St. Joseph County in 1999, and the study continues with students such as Bucher and Dahlheimer.

Early Thursday afternoon, the two students were hard at work at McKinley Avenue and Main Street in Mishawaka, hunched over and scraping dirt into zippered bags. They hardly noticed the curious looks they were getting from drivers.

Notre Dame professor and geologist Clive Neal is part of a team of researchers at the university to begin the inquiry.

He explained that Mother Nature did not deposit the metal into our soil -- cars did. As people drive on bumpy roads, platinum falls off the catalytic converters.

Catalytic converters use platinum -- as well as palladium and rhodium -- to convert carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides into less harmful emissions.

"We're going to be scraping the top layer of the roadside dirt into the plastic bag. We're going to be labeling it, then we're going to be taking it back to the lab for processing," Neal said.

He said platinum levels they found near Notre Dame were about the same as the levels in a working platinum mine.

Since the study began, university researchers have been conducting experiments to determine whether the fine platinum deposits are harmful to people.

They also are trying to develop a way to turn the particles they pull off the street into a product they can sell. Platinum is often used in jewelry.

"You have road sweepers come along, they sweep it, they go dump it ... could be money. We don't know," Neal said.

If Neal and his team are successful, their experiment could be quite lucrative. Lately, platinum has been selling for close to $800 an ounce.

From South Bend Tribune Nov. 2001
« Last Edit: 04/07/2004 09:51:41 by Exodus »


 

Offline neilep

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Re: Platinum found in great quantities on roadsides
« Reply #1 on: 04/07/2004 12:30:59 »
If only dog poo was just as valuable !!

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
 

Offline Exodus

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Re: Platinum found in great quantities on roadsides
« Reply #2 on: 05/07/2004 04:32:50 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

If only dog poo was just as valuable !!

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'



london would certainly be cleaner!!!
 

Offline Ylide

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Re: Platinum found in great quantities on roadsides
« Reply #3 on: 07/07/2004 23:05:53 »
As a heavy metal, is platinum toxic to the human body?  I'm curious of the health repercussions of all that platinum in the soil.





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Offline Exodus

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Re: Platinum found in great quantities on roadsides
« Reply #4 on: 08/07/2004 01:33:20 »
Platinum-based Fuel Catalyst for Diesel Fuel
 
1.8  At the request of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Committee was asked to advise on the implications of a new platinum-based fuel additive which had been designed to reduce the emissions of pollutants in diesel exhaust. Whilst the use of the platinum fuel catalyst would bring about a reduction in emission of particulates, the Committee was asked to consider whether the simultaneous increase in platinum emissions was of concern for public health. Specific points that the Committee were asked to take into account were: whether they were content that the platinum emissions were mostly in the form of metallic platinum, which is not associated with human toxicity; whether the small soluble fraction is unlikely to be in an allergenic form; and whether, even if the soluble fraction were allergenic, there was an adequate margin of safety below the lowest observed adverse effect level.
 
1.9  The Committee considered the proposed usage and the projected emissions and noted that, if the majority of the emissions were in the form of the metal, there would be no risk to health. Concerns were expressed as to the extent to which allergenic platinum halides were present in the product and in the exhaust emissions. The Committee agreed that the soluble fraction of emitted platinum was unlikely to be allergenic provided it was not in a halide salt form.
 
1.10  After consideration of additional data requested by the Committee, members agreed that platinum emissions from the platinum based fuel catalyst were unlikely to be in an allergenic form. Additionally, the Committee expressed a wish to see the results of additional toxicity studies that they understood were planned for the material.


From: Toxicity, Mutagenicity and Carcinogenicity Report 1996
 
 
http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/doh/toxicity/chap-1b.htm
 

Offline jai

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Re: Platinum found in great quantities on roadsides
« Reply #5 on: 08/07/2004 23:59:24 »
i heard an article recently on radio 4 (yes i know i am sad) that was about some new research into a substance that can be put onto surfaces to reduce polutants. designed mainly for roadsides. i cant remember whether it was when the polutants were washed onto the surface or whether it was just through polluted air contact. apparently it oxidised the polutant and then the oxygen and carbon molecules were washed away in the next rain fall? does anyone know any more about this? my memory is a little dodgy and it sounded realy interesting.
 

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Re: Platinum found in great quantities on roadsides
« Reply #5 on: 08/07/2004 23:59:24 »

 

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