Atomic Number: 76
Atomic Weight: 190.23
Melting Point: 3306 K (3033°C or 5491°F)
Boiling Point: 5285 K (5012°C or 9054°F)
Density: 22.57 grams per cubic centimeter
Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
Element Classification: Metal
Period Number: 6 Group Number: 8
Group Name: none
From the Greek word for a smell, osme.
Osmium and iridium were discovered at the same time by the British chemist Smithson Tennant in 1803. Osmium and iridium were identified in the black residue remaining after dissolving platinum ore with aqua regia, a mixture of 25% nitric acid (HNO3) and 75% hydrochloric acid (HCl). Today, osmium is primarily recovered during the processing of platinum and nickel ores.
Metallic osmium is hard, brittle and very difficult to make. Powdered osmium is easier to make but emits osmium tetroxide (OsO4) when it is exposed to the air. Unfortunately, osmium tetroxide smells bad and is very poisonous. Because of these problems, osmium is primarily used to make very hard alloys. Osmium alloys can be found in ball point pen tips, fountain pen tips, record player needles, electrical contacts and other devices where frictional wear must be minimized.