Osmium Facts

Osmium Facts
Osmium (Os) has an atomic number of seventy-six, and the same number of protons in the nucleus of an atom. It is a lustrous, extremely hard member of the platinum metals group.
Interesting Osmium Facts:
Smithson Tennant and William Hyde Wollaston discovered osmium in 1803.
The discovery of osmium is linked to the discovery of platinum, since osmium is the black residue left over after platinum is dissolved in aqua regia.
Mid-eighteenth century scientists believed the black residue to be graphite, but it was proven to be a new element.
Tennant also discovered iridium in the residue with the osmium, and notified the British Royal Society of the discovery on June 21, 1804.
Osmium is the rarest of all stable elements.
It is only found at 0.05 parts per billion in the Earth's crust.
Osmium occurs naturally as either a free element or in naturally occurring alloys.
Just like the other members of the platinum metals group, osmium is found naturally alloyed with both nickel and copper.
Osmium is found in a few naturally occurring geological formations, including impact craters.
Osmium readily forms osmium tetroxide, which is highly toxic through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion.
In its powdered form, osmium is sold commercially for about $1300US per kilogram.
Like many other elements, osmium's main source for extraction is as a byproduct of the nickel and copper refining process.
The process involves dissolving the leftover product in acid, then using distillation to extract the osmium from the other platinum metals.
The procedure is very similar to the one the scientists originally used to discover osmium in the early nineteenth century.
Osmium is rarely used in its pure form, given that it can be highly toxic and volatile.
It is alloyed with other metals for commercial uses.
The alloys of osmium and other metals are used for products that require a high tolerance for wearing and corrosion.
Osmium has also played a key role in various aspects of lightbulb technology over the years.

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