IRIDIUM - a gift from space
And again about platinoids, precious and rare metals. Today our hero is iridium, one of the heaviest metals in the group. Only osmium can compare with it in weight.
The chemical element with atomic number 76 is osmium. In Latin, as the elements should be called, Osmium. White metal with a blue-gray tint belongs to the group of platinoids.
The properties of platinoids, in particular osmium, are in many ways unique.
The density of osmium is enormous - about 22.6 g / cm³, it is the heaviest of the chemical elements, metals. Imagine a metal cube with a side of 10 centimeters - it will weigh 22.6 kilograms. The same aluminum cube will pull 2.7 kg. The mass of an ice cube with an edge of 10 centimeters is 900 grams.
The melting point is striking - 3033 ° C, the metal begins to boil at 5012 ° C.
Let's remember chemistry. Osmium is one, but it has a lot of isotopes. Metal atoms can have different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus. Moreover, it is osmium. In nature, the platinoid consists of seven isotopes, one of them is radioactive, 186Os, which is completely unique. The half-life of the isotope is older than the age of the universe.
The watch is another mark of a man from the elite. In the mechanism of expensive watches, osmium is used, as it does not have magnetic properties. And his ability to abrasion is enormous. This means that in a mechanical watch it is necessary.
Osmium compounds in medicine
Osmium tetroxide is used in the production of cortisone, a drug vital for patients with hormonal diseases. The use of osmium tetrachloride is necessary in laboratories in the preparation of samples for electron microscopes.
Surgical instruments (eg scalpels) are equipped with platinoid alloy cutting edges.
These alloys are used in the manufacture of pacemakers, implants, valves.
Why is blue platinoid dangerous?
Metal osmium is not dangerous (unless there is a desire to eat a spoon or two). But osmium tetroxide (OsO4), in addition to a disgusting smell, also poses a threat to human health. It is a highly toxic, volatile compound. Dangerous by inhalation of vapors. It must be stored in sealed capsules, work in protective suits and with good exhaust ventilation.