Uses of Osmium

May 22, 2010 | By | Reply More

The principal use of Osmium  is in combination with other metals in the Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) to produce extremely hard alloys. One such use is in armour piercing shells.

Osmium is the hardest of all PGMs, ten times harder than Platinum and also has the highest melting point. It is a good electrical conductor.

These characteristics make the metal, and more often its alloys, suitable for use where minimal frictional wear is required.

Osmium Examples

  • Ball point and pen nibs
  • styluses
  • instrument pivots
  • electrical contacts

It is a longer lasting and more effective alternative to gold and other metals as a plating in the electronic industry.

In common with all the PGMs it is an excellent catalyst.

Osmium oxides, in particular the pungent and toxic Osmium tetroxide are used in forensic science for DNA and fingerprinting

It is suspected that Osmium tetroxide was the chemical together with an explosive device at the center of a bomb plot foiled by US and UK intelligence agents in 2004.

Electric light bulbs used Osmium as a filament in the early 1900s until replaced by tungsten.  Hence the light bulb manufacturer Osram.

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