Palladium is a metallic element that belongs to the group of light platinum metals. The chemical symbol for palladium is Pd and its atomic number is 46. Palladium has a silver-white color and is a soft and malleable metal. It has a density of 12.02 g/cm3 and melts at a temperature of 1554.9 °C.

Palladium is a precious metal and is highly corrosion resistant. It is not attacked by air or hydrogen sulphide, but can be dissolved by nitric and sulfuric acids. At room temperature, palladium can dissolve 900 times its own volume of hydrogen gas in compact form and 3,000 times in colloidal form. This makes it an important component in catalysts for the hydrogenation of organic compounds.

Palladium has a variety of uses. It is used in the electronics industry in the manufacture of capacitors, electrical connectors and cables. It is also used in jewelry and as an important component in gasoline catalytic converters. Palladium is also used in medicine, especially in dental applications and to treat cancer.

Palladium has a relatively high scrap value due to its precious metal status and its uses. The amount of palladium in a catalyst varies, and the more palladium a catalyst contains, the higher its scrap value is considered to be.

Although palladium is a very useful metal, its availability is limited. Palladium rarely occurs in pure form in nature and is mainly extracted as a by-product in the extraction of platinum and nickel. Therefore, recovery of palladium from spent catalysts and other products containing palladium is important to ensure a sustainable supply of this metal.