This is why Le Grand K is soon to be retired from service, subject to a vote by the IBWM member states next month. The kilogram will then be redefined in terms of quantum mechanics using the ‘Planck’ constant, a measure derived from the frequency of a subatomic particle.
Defining the kilogram in terms of a fundamental physical constant will provide a much more practical, as well as reliable, solution for scientists. Once adopted, the new standard will mean that the IPK can be replicated anywhere in the world, at any time, and cannot be compromised by pollutants.
Platinum’s unique properties
Platinum was chosen as the main component of the original IPK due to its high density and ‘relative inertness’, or stability, which meant that it was less likely to become contaminated or degrade over time.
These are the same unique properties, as well as its catalytic abilities and malleability, which make platinum a highly-prized material for a multitude of applications throughout industry today, from medicine to manufacturing.
In fact, industrial demand for platinum is forecast to rise by 5 per cent this year and, in addition, as one of the rarest metals in the world, it is increasingly being viewed as an investment asset.