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Platinum is used as a conductor in galvanic cells as it is an inert metal that will not participate in the reaction. If you do not have another conducting metal on either side (meaning you need one for the cathode AND one for the anode), you must add Pt. Some examples of common conductors include copper and zinc in their solid form. One odd case would be Mercury in its liquid form (Hg (l)), as it is also a conductor.
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