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Palladium

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"What is that?"
"That's palladium, 0.15 grams. We need at least 1.6, so why don't you go break down the other 11?"
Ho Yinsen and Tony Stark[src]

Palladium is an element. Tony Stark used it for his arc reactor, but it eventually began to poison him. He solved this problem by creating a new element, along with a new arc reactor.

History

"What, is he constructing a palladium core? The man's a certifiable genius."
Whitney Frost[src]

By 1947, Howard Stark was planning to build a palladium core and had the blueprints on a table in his home in Los Angeles; Whitney Frost, a genius scientist herself, saw the plans and thought of how ingenious Stark was.[1]

Tony Stark was using palladium as the core for his Arc Reactor, but it was increasing his blood toxicity. After searching for every known element, he still could not find one that would not get destroyed, so he had to remain with palladium (which lasted the longest, compared to the others).[2]

Natasha Romanoff, aware of this problem, informed Nick Fury of his condition. When the three of them met at Randy's Donuts, Romanoff injected Stark with lithium dioxide to slow his poisoning. Fury provided Stark with some of his father's old things. He discovered an element that could fulfill his needs through a hidden message. He proceeded to re-create this new element (using the molecular structure provided by his father) and created another arc reactor that cured his palladium poisoning. Tony Stark continued to use that reactor and found that it is more powerful than the original arc reactor that relied on palladium.[2]

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