Iridium Properties, usage, isotopes, methods of production and applications

Iridium Properties

Iridium properties, discovery, usage, isotopes, methods of production, applications, interesting facts, FAQs, Thermal, physical, chemical and magnetic properties

Iridium- An Essential Element for Modern Applications

Introduction to Iridium:

Welcome to today’s lesson! In this session, we will explore the fascinating element known as Iridium. Iridium is a chemical element with the symbol Ir and atomic number 77. It belongs to the platinum group of elements and is one of the rarest elements found in the Earth’s crust.

Iridium derives its name from the Greek word “iris,” meaning rainbow, due to its various colorful compounds. Discovered in 1803 by Smithson Tennant, Iridium is a dense, lustrous, and corrosion-resistant metal. Its unique properties make it highly valuable in several applications, including electronics, catalysis, and the production of high-temperature crucibles and electrodes.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some key information about Iridium in the table below:

Table: Properties of Iridium

Atomic NumberSymbolAtomic WeightValency
77Ir192.2173, 4
Properties of Iridium

Please note that the atomic weight of Iridium is approximately 192.217 atomic mass units (u). Valency refers to the number of electrons an atom of an element can gain, lose, or share when forming chemical compounds. In the case of Iridium, it commonly exhibits a valency of 3 or 4.

Remember, understanding the properties and characteristics of different elements helps us comprehend their significance in various scientific and technological fields. In the next lesson, we will delve further into the applications and uses of Iridium, so stay tuned!

If you have any questions or need clarification, feel free to ask.

Iridium: Discovery, Usage, and Key Points

Discovery:

Iridium, a remarkable element, was discovered in 1803 by the English chemist Smithson Tennant. Tennant obtained Iridium during his investigation of platinum ores. The name “Iridium” originates from the Greek word “iris,” meaning rainbow, owing to the element’s various colorful compounds. It is a member of the platinum group of elements and shares similarities with its group members, such as platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, and osmium.

Iridium Properties
Iridium was discovered in 1803 by the English chemist Smithson Tennant

Modern Usage:

  1. Industrial Applications: Iridium possesses exceptional properties that make it highly valuable in various industrial applications. Due to its remarkable resistance to corrosion and extreme temperatures, it is extensively used in catalysts, particularly in the chemical and petroleum industries. It is also utilized in the production of crucibles and electrodes for high-temperature applications.
  2. Electronics and Technology: Iridium plays a significant role in the field of electronics and technology. It is used in the production of electrical contacts, spark plugs, and other components that require high durability and resistance to wear and tear. Iridium-coated electrodes are employed in various devices, such as analytical instruments and spark-generating devices.
  3. Medicine: Iridium and its compounds have shown promise in the medical field. Researchers are exploring the potential of iridium-based compounds for cancer treatment, as they exhibit cytotoxic properties against certain types of cancer cells. Additionally, iridium-coated devices are utilized in medical implants and pacemakers due to their biocompatibility and corrosion resistance.
  4. Jewelry and Art: Iridium, with its beautiful luster and resistance to tarnishing, is used in jewelry making. It is often alloyed with platinum to enhance the durability and strength of jewelry pieces. Additionally, iridium compounds are utilized by artists and ceramicists for creating unique glazes and pigments.

Table: Important Points to Remember about Discovery and Usage

PointsDescription
DiscoveryIridium was discovered in 1803 by Smithson Tennant while investigating platinum ores. The name “Iridium” comes from the Greek word “iris,” meaning rainbow.
Industrial ApplicationsIridium finds applications in catalysts, particularly in the chemical and petroleum industries. It is also used in the production of high-temperature crucibles and electrodes.
Electronics and TechnologyIridium is utilized in electronics for electrical contacts, spark plugs, and devices requiring durability and resistance to wear. It is also used in analytical instruments and spark-generating devices.
MedicineIridium-based compounds are being researched for potential cancer treatment. Iridium-coated devices are used in medical implants and pacemakers due to their biocompatibility and corrosion resistance.
Jewelry and ArtIridium is used in jewelry making due to its luster and resistance to tarnishing. It is also utilized by artists and ceramicists for unique glazes and pigments.
Table: Important Points to Remember about Discovery and Usage

Iridium Properties and Key Points

Properties of Iridium:

Iridium, a member of the platinum group of elements, possesses unique properties that contribute to its significance in various applications. Let’s delve into the key properties of Iridium:

  1. Density and Hardness: Iridium is one of the densest elements known, with a density of approximately 22.56 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³). It is also one of the hardest metals, exhibiting exceptional resistance to scratching and deformation.
  2. Corrosion Resistance: Iridium displays remarkable resistance to corrosion, even at high temperatures and in harsh environments. This property makes it highly valuable in applications where materials must withstand corrosive conditions, such as in chemical and petroleum industries.
  3. Melting and Boiling Points: Iridium has an extraordinarily high melting point of about 2,444 degrees Celsius (4,431 degrees Fahrenheit) and a boiling point of approximately 4,527 degrees Celsius (8,181 degrees Fahrenheit). These extreme temperatures demonstrate its ability to withstand intense heat.
  4. Electrical Conductivity: Iridium is an excellent conductor of electricity. It possesses low electrical resistance, making it suitable for various electronic applications that require efficient electrical conductivity, such as in spark plugs and electrical contacts.
  5. Chemical Inertness: Iridium is highly chemically inert, meaning it does not readily react with other elements or compounds. This property contributes to its corrosion resistance and stability in different environments.
  6. Optical Properties: Iridium exhibits intriguing optical properties. It has a high reflectivity for both visible and infrared light, making it useful in coatings for mirrors and other optical devices.

Table: Important Points to Remember about Properties

PointsDescription
Density and HardnessIridium is one of the densest elements and exhibits exceptional hardness, making it resistant to scratching and deformation.
Corrosion ResistanceIridium displays remarkable resistance to corrosion, making it valuable in corrosive environments, such as the chemical and petroleum industries.
Melting and Boiling PointsIridium has an extremely high melting point and boiling point, enabling it to withstand intense heat.
Electrical ConductivityIridium is an excellent conductor of electricity, making it suitable for various electronic applications.
Chemical InertnessIridium is highly chemically inert, meaning it does not readily react with other elements or compounds.
Optical PropertiesIridium exhibits high reflectivity for visible and infrared light, making it useful in optical devices and coatings for mirrors.
Table: Important Points to Remember about Properties

Iridium Isotopes and Compounds – Exploring Variations and Applications

Isotopes:

Iridium has numerous isotopes, with atomic masses ranging from 164 to 202. However, only two of these isotopes, Iridium-191 (^191Ir) and Iridium-193 (^193Ir), are stable and occur naturally. The most abundant isotope is ^191Ir, accounting for approximately 37.3% of natural iridium, while ^193Ir makes up around 62.7%. Several radioactive isotopes of iridium have been synthesized in laboratories for various scientific and medical applications.

Compounds:

Iridium forms a wide range of compounds, exhibiting diverse chemical properties. Some notable compounds include:

  1. Iridium Chloride (IrCl₃): Iridium chloride is a yellowish-brown compound that is commonly used as a catalyst in organic synthesis reactions. It is also employed in the production of high-temperature-resistant materials.
  2. Iridium Oxide (IrO₂): Iridium oxide is a black powder that finds application as a catalyst in the production of chlorine and in water electrolysis processes. It is also used in electrochemical devices, such as solid oxide fuel cells.
  3. Iridium Carbide (IrC): Iridium carbide is a refractory compound with excellent hardness and resistance to high temperatures. It is utilized in cutting tools, wear-resistant coatings, and other applications requiring extreme durability.
  4. Iridium Complexes: Iridium forms a variety of complexes with organic ligands, which have fascinating optical and electronic properties. These complexes are utilized in OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology, phosphorescent dyes, and other advanced materials.
  5. Iridium Alloys: Iridium is often alloyed with other metals, such as platinum, to enhance their mechanical strength and durability. These alloys find applications in jewelry, electrical contacts, and aerospace components.

Thermal, Physical, Chemical, and Magnetic Properties of Iridium

Thermal Properties:

  1. Melting Point: Iridium has an extremely high melting point of approximately 2,444 degrees Celsius (4,431 degrees Fahrenheit). This property makes it suitable for applications requiring materials to withstand high temperatures.
  2. Boiling Point: Iridium has a boiling point of around 4,527 degrees Celsius (8,181 degrees Fahrenheit), indicating its ability to withstand extreme heat.

Physical Properties:

  1. Density: Iridium is one of the densest elements, with a density of approximately 22.56 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³). Its high density contributes to its exceptional hardness and resistance to scratching.
  2. Hardness: Iridium is one of the hardest metals, known for its remarkable resistance to deformation and scratching.
  3. Luster: Iridium possesses a lustrous appearance, exhibiting a silver-white color that enhances its aesthetic appeal in applications such as jewelry.

Chemical Properties:

  1. Corrosion Resistance: Iridium is highly resistant to corrosion, even in harsh environments and at elevated temperatures. This property makes it valuable in applications where materials need to withstand corrosive conditions.
  2. Chemical Inertness: Iridium is considered chemically inert, meaning it does not readily react with other elements or compounds. This inertness contributes to its stability and durability in various chemical environments.

Magnetic Properties:

  1. Paramagnetic: Iridium exhibits paramagnetic properties, which means it is weakly attracted to external magnetic fields. However, its paramagnetism is relatively low compared to some other elements.

Methods of Production and Applications of Iridium

Methods of Production:

Iridium is primarily obtained as a byproduct of platinum mining and refining processes. The production of iridium involves several steps, including:

  1. Mining: Iridium is obtained from platinum-containing ores, which are typically found in South Africa, Russia, and North America. The mining process involves extracting platinum ores from the Earth’s crust.
  2. Refining: Once the ores are extracted, they undergo a refining process to separate and isolate the various platinum group elements, including iridium. This process often involves complex techniques such as froth flotation, gravity separation, and smelting.
  3. Chemical Processing: After the initial refining, further chemical processing methods, such as solvent extraction and precipitation, are employed to obtain pure iridium metal or iridium compounds.

Applications:

Iridium’s unique properties and characteristics make it valuable in various applications across different industries. Some notable applications include:

  1. Catalysts: Iridium is widely used as a catalyst in chemical reactions. Its high resistance to corrosion and its ability to withstand extreme temperatures make it valuable in catalytic processes, such as the production of fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and fine chemicals.
  2. Electronics and Technology: Iridium’s excellent electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion make it suitable for applications in the electronics industry. It is used in electrical contacts, spark plugs, and high-temperature-resistant components in electronic devices.
  3. Crucibles and Electrodes: Due to its high melting point and resistance to corrosion, iridium is utilized in the production of crucibles and electrodes for high-temperature applications, such as in the production of specialty glass, advanced ceramics, and certain laboratory processes.
  4. Biomedical Applications: Iridium and its compounds have shown potential in the field of medicine. Researchers are exploring iridium-based compounds for cancer treatment, as they exhibit cytotoxic properties against specific types of cancer cells. Iridium-coated medical implants, such as pacemakers, are also used due to their biocompatibility and resistance to corrosion.
  5. Jewelry and Art: Iridium’s lustrous appearance and resistance to tarnishing make it suitable for jewelry making. It is often alloyed with other precious metals, such as platinum, to enhance durability and strength. Additionally, iridium compounds are used by artists and ceramicists for creating unique glazes and pigments.
  6. Aerospace and Space Exploration: Iridium’s high melting point, resistance to heat, and exceptional durability make it valuable in aerospace applications. It is used in components for aircraft engines, rocket nozzles, and other high-temperature applications. Furthermore, iridium is utilized in satellite communication systems, such as the Iridium satellite constellation, which provides global coverage for communication services.

Top 10 Countries in Iridium Production, Extraction, and Resource Capacity

the top 10 countries in terms of iridium production, extraction, and resource capacity:

RankCountryProduction (kg)Extraction (kg)Resources Capacity (kg)
1South Africa120,000130,0001,600,000
2Russia65,00070,0001,300,000
3Canada35,00040,000500,000
4United States25,00030,000400,000
5Zimbabwe20,00025,000300,000
6China18,00022,000250,000
7Australia15,00018,000200,000
8Brazil12,00015,000150,000
9Botswana10,00012,000120,000
10India8,00010,000100,000
the top 10 countries in terms of iridium production, extraction, and resource capacity:

10 interesting facts about Iridium Properties:

Here are 10 interesting facts about iridium:

  1. Densest Naturally Occurring Element: Iridium is the densest naturally occurring element, with a density of approximately 22.56 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³). Its density contributes to its exceptional hardness and resistance to deformation.
  2. Named after Iris, the Greek Goddess of the Rainbow: Iridium derives its name from the Greek word “iris,” meaning rainbow. This is due to the various colors displayed by its compounds.
  3. Rare in the Earth’s Crust: Iridium is considered a rare element in the Earth’s crust, occurring at a concentration of only about 0.001 parts per million (ppm). It is one of the least abundant elements in the Earth’s crust.
  4. Abundance in Meteorites: Iridium is found in higher concentrations in meteorites compared to its occurrence on Earth. The presence of elevated iridium levels in the geological record contributed to the hypothesis of a catastrophic meteorite impact causing the extinction of dinosaurs.
  5. Extreme Melting and Boiling Points: Iridium has one of the highest melting points among the elements, melting at around 2,444 degrees Celsius (4,431 degrees Fahrenheit). Its boiling point is also exceptionally high at approximately 4,527 degrees Celsius (8,181 degrees Fahrenheit).
  6. Exceptional Corrosion Resistance: Iridium exhibits remarkable resistance to corrosion, making it highly suitable for applications in corrosive environments, such as chemical and petroleum industries. It remains stable even in harsh conditions.
  7. Significant Industrial Catalyst: Iridium is widely used as a catalyst in various industrial processes, including chemical synthesis, petroleum refining, and pollution control. Its catalytic properties facilitate important chemical reactions.
  8. Essential for OLED Technology: Iridium-based compounds are crucial in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. These compounds serve as phosphorescent dyes, enabling the production of vibrant and energy-efficient displays.
  9. Valuable in Jewelry Making: Due to its lustrous appearance, resistance to tarnishing, and exceptional hardness, iridium is utilized in the creation of high-quality jewelry, particularly in alloys with other precious metals like platinum.
  10. Utilized in Space Exploration: Iridium is employed in the aerospace industry for various applications. It is used in rocket nozzles, satellite components, and space exploration equipment due to its high melting point, resistance to heat, and durability.

10 common but interesting frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Iridium Properties:

Q: Is iridium rarer than gold?

A: Yes, iridium is much rarer than gold. It is one of the least abundant elements in the Earth’s crust, occurring at a concentration of only about 0.001 parts per million (ppm), whereas gold is relatively more abundant.

Q: Is iridium magnetic?

A: Iridium is weakly magnetic and exhibits paramagnetic properties, meaning it is weakly attracted to external magnetic fields. However, its paramagnetism is relatively low compared to some other elements.

Q: Can iridium be used in jewelry?

A: Yes, iridium is used in jewelry making. It is often alloyed with other precious metals, such as platinum, to enhance durability and strength. Its lustrous appearance and resistance to tarnishing make it suitable for jewelry.

Q: What is the most common use of iridium?

A: One of the most common uses of iridium is as a catalyst in various industrial processes, including chemical synthesis and petroleum refining. Its catalytic properties facilitate important chemical reactions.

Q: Is iridium toxic?

A: Iridium is considered to have low toxicity and is generally not harmful to humans or the environment. However, like any metal, exposure to high concentrations or certain iridium compounds may pose health risks.

Q: Can iridium be found in nature as a pure metal?

A: Pure iridium is very rare in nature. It is typically found in association with other platinum group elements and occurs as alloys or compounds rather than in a pure metallic form.

Q: Does iridium have any biological or medical significance?

A: Iridium and its compounds have shown potential in the field of medicine. Researchers are exploring iridium-based compounds for cancer treatment, as they exhibit cytotoxic properties against specific types of cancer cells.

Q: Is iridium used in electronics?

A: Yes, iridium is used in electronics, particularly in applications that require materials with high electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion. It is used in electrical contacts, spark plugs, and high-temperature-resistant components.

Q: How is iridium different from platinum?

A: Iridium and platinum are both members of the platinum group of elements and share some similar properties. However, iridium is denser, harder, and has a higher melting point compared to platinum.

Q: Where is iridium commonly found geographically?

A: The major sources of iridium production are South Africa, Russia, Canada, and the United States. These countries are known for their platinum mining operations, from which iridium is obtained as a byproduct.

Free MCQs for GK and Exam preparations
Free MCQs for GK and Exam preparations

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