Iridium Metal | Properties | Uses | and Facts - Elements and Compounds


Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Iridium Metal | Properties | Uses | and Facts

Properties Uses and Facts about Iridium Metal

    What is Iridium

    Iridium is classified as a transition metal, and chemically it is an element. Iridium has a density of 22.42 grams per cubic centimeter. Iridium metal is found in the solid state at room temperature. Its melting point is 2446 °C (4435 °F) and its boiling point is 4527 °C (8180.6 °F). Iridium has an atomic mass of 192.217 AMU, atomic number 77, and symbol (Ir). In the Periodic Table, Iridium is located in Group 9, Period 6 and Block (D). Its atom has 77 electrons, 77 protons, 115 neutrons and 6 energy levels.

    Iridium metal was discovered by the British chemist Smithson Tennant in 1803.
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    Iridium Metal Properties Uses and Facts

    Properties of Iridium Metal

    • Iridium is a silvery-white lustrous metal.
    • Iridium is almost as inert as gold.
    • When exposed to oxygen present in the air, a thin layer of oxide is formed over the iridium.
    • At high temperatures, iridium metal becomes more reactive, and reacts with oxygen to form iridium dioxide.
    • Iridium has the highest corrosion resistance of all metals.
    • Iridium is a hard and brittle metal, so machining pure iridium is nearly impossible.
    • Iridium becomes ductile when heated to a temperature of 1200 to 1500 °C, after which machining can be done on it.
    • Iridium has a very high density and melting point.
    • Iridium does not react with acids, not even with aqua-regia.
    • Iridium is a good conductor of electricity and heat.
    • Iridium is not toxic, but it can irritate the eyes and digestive tract.

    Uses of Iridium Metal

    • Iridium is most commonly used in making alloys.
    • Iridium is used as a hardening agent, especially to harden platinum metal with small amounts of iridium added to it.
    • An alloy made of platinum and iridium is used to make crucibles and tools that work at high temperatures.
    • Iridium and osmium alloys are used in making fountain pen points and compass bearings.
    • Because of its high melting point and chemically less reactivity, iridium is used in spark plug points.
    • Iridium was used to make the standard meter bar, which used 90% platinum and 10% iridium metal.

    Interesting Facts about Iridium metal

    • Iridium is about twice as heavy as lead and about 22 times heavier than water.
    • Iridium-platinum alloys are harder than pure platinum and pure iridium.
    • Iridium is one of the rarest metals, far more rare than metals such as silver, gold, and platinum.
    • Iridium is mainly obtained as a by-product during the production of nickel metal, in addition, platinum ores also contain small amounts of iridium.
    • It is believed that when the earth was in a hot and molten state, metals like iridium, being heavy, went into the depths of the earth, due to which these metals are found in very small quantities on the surface of the earth.
    • Iridium has two stable isotopes and 34 radioactive isotopes.
    • Iridium is found in higher percentage in meteorites and asteroids than in the earth's crust.

    Detailed Information on Some other Metals

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