Iridium:Don't Overreact John Mauro, MS. LEONE, PERIOD C

Iridium is a highly corrosive resistant transition metal. It was discovered in 1803 by a chemist named Smithson Tennant. Tennant was experimenting with platinum and was dissolving it in a strong acid, called Aqua regia. While most of the Platinum dissolved, a small amount of black powder remained. He realized that he had discovered a new element, and called it Iridium, after the Greek God of rainbows, Iris, because the compounds of Iridium have many colors.

Iridium has an atomic mass of 77. It has atomic weight of 192.217 g/cm^3. Iridium has 77 protons, 77 electrons, and 115 neutrons. Iridium has two naturally stable forms: Iridium-191 and Iridium-193.

Iridium is one of the rarest elements on Earth. In the Earth's crust, there are only two parts per billion. Iridium commonly binds with one or more noble metals, such as osmium. Alaska, Russia, South Africa, and Canada hold the most dominant Iridium mines. Interestingly, Iridium is more common in outer space. Iron meteorites can have up to three parts per million.

Iridium is mainly used in creating alloys. Since these alloys are very expensive, they are only used for special purposes. Helicopter spark plugs are made of an iridium-platinum alloy, which helps them ignite their fuel and take off. Iridium is also used for special types of electrical wires, electrodes, and electrical contacts, all important for circuit breakers and energy transference. An unstable isotope of Iridium, Iridium-192, is used for X-rays and for treating cancer.

High concentrations of Iridium in certain lawyers of the Earth give proof that it was hit by a meteor. Iridium is more commonly found in meteors, and this gives proof to the most plausible theory that the Earth was hit by a meteor 65 milllion years ago that caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.