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A sample of Osmium

Osmium is the chemical element with the chemical symbol Os, and atomic number 76. The name of the element comes from Greek osme, meaning 'smell', as some samples of Osmium have a strong odour, because of impurities of toxic Osmium Tetroxide. The densest natural metal at 22.59 g/cm3, It is a silvery metal with a bluish tint.

It is the most reactive of the noble metals, with finely divided samples oxidising easily, forming the noxious Osmium Tetroxide (OsO4), which causes severe damage to most human organs. When melted into sizable lumps, it oxidises less, and seems to lose its odour. However, because of its difficulty to machine safely, it is unlikely it will be used as mainstream as some other noble metals.

Further Description[]

Discovered in 1803 by British chemist Smithson Tennant, Osmium was discovered in residue of dissolved crude platinum in aqua regia, and is produced as a by-product of the mining of Nickel. It is a Transition Metal, with 2 major and 6 minor outer electrons.

  • Melting Point: ~3038 C, 5491.4 F, 3306.15 K
  • Boiling Point: ~5018 C, 9046.4 F, 5281.15 K
  • Electron Configuration: [Xe] 4f14 5d6 6s2


Osmium's high density makes it fit for many applications. However, because of its high price, it's used where little osmium is needed- sometimes in alloy called osmiridium.


  • Elements by Theodore Gray

Online References[]