The hardest metal in the world
Mankind has known many types of metals, which allow today to produce quality tools, parts for machines, equipment, vehicles, and many other necessary and useful things. Incredibly lightweight metals, strong, expensive, and there are the heavy metals. And many, thinking that this is mercury, very wrong. The title of «the hardest metal in the world» can claim to equal the platinum group metals – osmium (atomic number 76) and iridium (atomic number 77). They both have a high density, which is equal to 22.6 g/cm3. Scientists believe that they weight about the same, and the existing computations of the error allow the question of which metal is the heaviest, the answer is that both of these metal may well be considered the most severe.
Iridium: discovery, characteristics, application
This is the heaviest metal on Earth, opened a scientist from England, Tennat Smithson in 1803. Have gone in the past several centuries from the moment of opening of the platinum. It is from this white metal in the early nineteenth century physicists were able to separate the palladium, and rhodium. And Tannat found in the sediments of two metal elements, iridium and osmium. In ancient Greek the iridium means «rainbow».
It’s metal, silvery-white, which is not only heavy but also durable enough. Discovered iridium unique even for our times, as in the crust of the Earth it quite a bit. This metal can be a year to spend not more than 1000 kg. most Often, the iridium found in those places where meteorites were falling. Scientists claim that silver-white metal could be a more common metal on the surface of our planet, but the fault of small deposits is a considerable atomic weight, which allegedly forced the rock, pushing the metal closer to the core of the Earth.
Iridium is quite difficult to process, and also chemically inert. If you put a piece of this metal in a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid, nothing happens. In industry widely used isotope is iridium «192m2» that is used as a source of electrical energy. The metal is widely used in palaeontology – with its help scientists determine the age found in the Earth artifacts. Also, iridium can be used for coating other metals, however due to the complexity in the processing of this metal make it pretty difficult. Comes to the aid of the chemical method, which allows to achieve a uniform coating of iridium with other metals and ceramics.
Osmium: discovery, characteristics, application
Osmium is also the heaviest metal in the periodic table. Tin-white with a blue tint metal Smithson opened Tennat year after the discovery of iridium in platinum. When platinum was dissolved in Aqua Regia, and precipitate the scientist discovered this element, which is quite rarely used and expensive metal, but it is incredibly useful.
Osmium, like the previous discovered metal, processing almost impossible. Mostly it is found in meteorites, but also on our planet earth one can see large deposits (e.g., they exist in Russia, USA and South Africa). A distinctive feature of the osmium is an unpleasant smell, which you can catch at the same time the smell of garlic and chlorine. Therefore, the ancient Greek name «osmium» means «smell».
As a rule, osmium is used for the manufacture of incandescent bulbs or other devices requiring the use of refractory materials. Can be used as a catalyst in the manufacturing process of ammonia. High strength osmium allows it to be used for the manufacture of surgical instruments. To determine the true age of the meteorite iron rocks, use an isotope of osmium 187. A natural Deposit of osmium may «boast» of Kazakhstan. But for a gram of this metal, extracted from the Deposit, the buyer will have to pay at least $ 10,000, and all because this metal is quite rare.
It may be noted that it is an incredible coincidence that so heavy and rare metals are found in the same alloy. And to dissolve these materials, making them distinct metals that can be used in a variety of industries, will have to pay to process a lot of time and effort.