Iridium Samuel Schuur bryan8c

77 Ir Iridium. Photograph. Accessed November 30, 2016.

Iridium, Ir, or element 77, is an very dense, silvery metal with a high melting point. It was discovered in 1803, by the Englishman Smithson Tennant, in London (though it was also discovered at around the same time by H.-V. Collet-Descotils, A.-F. Fourcroy, and N.-L. Vauquelin in France) . Tennant discovered it alongside Osmium, by dissolving platinum in aqua regia which produced a powder formerly thought of as graphite. Smithson ended up separating this powder into two elements by using alkali's and acids. The name Iridium comes from the Latin word "irdis" meaning brightly colored because many compounds that contain Iridium are brightly colored.

Iridium Has:

Iridium occurs very little naturally, in fact there are only 0.001 parts per mill Iridium in the earths crust. But Iridium does occur in other alloys alongside other noble metals, it is found in iridosimine, platiniridum, aurosmiridium, and platinum. Iridium is often commercially produced as a byproduct of nickel or copper production. Ores containing Iridium are often found in South Africa, Alaska, Myanmar, Brazil, Russia, and Australia.

Here is an image of pure Iridium:

77 Ir Iridium. Photograph. Accessed November 30, 2016.

Iridium's Uses:

Though Iridium has very little use due to the rarity of pure iridium. It is often used in alloys with platinum, to form platinum-iridium alloys, which are stronger and more easy to work with.

Iridium-platinum alloys are often used to make pen tips.

File:Tip of a Ballpoint pen.jpg. Photograph. Accessed November 30, 2016.

Iridium-platinum alloys are used to make electrical contacts.

Electrical Contacts. Photograph. Accessed November 30, 2016.

Iridium-Platinum alloys are also used in jewelry and to make surgical pins and pivots.

The international prototype kilogram. Photograph. Accessed November 30, 2016.

Fun Fact:

The International Prototype Kilogram; or what defines the current SI unit of mass is made of an Iridium-Platinum alloy.


Created with images by AMagill - "Ballpoint reflection"

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