Letting platinum grains fall through his fingers

"This will probably be the only time in my life that I will be able to play with platinum in such a casual way."

Martyn Poliakoff from the Periodic Table of Videos visits Johnson Matthey's platinum plant where catalysts are made. During the tour he shows off a table stacked with GBP1.5 million (US$2.2 million) of platinum group metals.

The plant manufactures a thin weave of platinum that is used in automobiles and chemical plants.

"In all this processing, they generate dust, and most of it's caught, but some of it you can't avoid going into the air and falling to the floor," says Poliakoff.

"Some of it collects on our shoes, so when you go in and out they have special brushes to clean the bottom of your shoes, and they recover a large amount of metal each year, worth more than a decent sized car."