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American Elements produces performance materials for high technology industrial applications. However, in 2008 we were approached by commodity traders to see if we could resolve a metallurgy issue that has prevented the commoditization of an important precious metal. Rhodium has long been considered a candidate as a commodity metal alongside gold, silver and platinum. However, rhodium could only be purchased as a powder commonly known as “Rhodium Sponge” because its extreme brittleness prevented it from being fabricated as a bar or coin; the forms that allow for standardized weight and purity.

American Elements engineers developed a novel annealing and quenching process specific to the low ductility of rhodium and in 2009 produced the first 2 ounce rhodium bar which now can be purchased by investors, collectors and ETFs who wish to take physical possession of the metal.

INNOVATION CASE STUDY

#18: American Elements Fabricates First Investment Grade Rhodium Product


The Challenge

Rhodium is a precious metal with numerous applications. Few know that white gold is in fact a rhodium coating on gold. However, pure rhodium was never available in a form that would allow for investment and trade because rhodium is extremely brittle. As such, it is typically sold as a powder known as “Rhodium Sponge”. American Elements metallurgists were tasked with created a solid bar or coin that could be produced to allow the investment community to more conveniently invest in and trade Rhodium.


The Innovation

American Elements developed a proprietary annealing process that created a unique solid plate that could be further cut and formed into specified weights. Various forms of coins and bars were than produced and distributed for evaluation by the investment community.


The Result

American Elements found the most popular form was a 2 oz. bar which it then launched under the tradename “Rhodies”. The Rhodie is now available to funds, currency reserves and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to allow for risk exposure to this unique precious metal.

American Elements Investment Grade Metals Industry Customers Include: