Osmium Block

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osmium block is a solid bluish-white metal with an atomic number of 76. It is a member of the platinum group of metals. In the pure metallic form, it is extremely dense and brittle. It has the highest melting point and lowest vapor pressure of the platinum group metals. It is slightly attacked by aqua regia and by fuming nitric acid, and easily attacked by molten hydroxides. It forms the highly toxic osmium tetroxide when it comes into contact with air, releasing a pungent smell. Osmium oxide, however, is less reactive and significantly less toxic.

In addition to its use in making the osmium tetroxide used in fingerprint detection, osmium is a key component of hard alloys that are used for high-wear applications and electrical contacts. It is also used for jewelry, and it can be found in fountain pen nibs and phonograph needles. An alloy of 90 percent platinum and 10 percent osmium is used in medical implants such as pacemakers and replacement pulmonary valves.

The chemical properties of osmium are similar to those of other platinum group metals, and its compounds have many uses. It is a key element in a variety of high-temperature alloys, including superalloys. In addition, osmium complexes are widely used in electron microscopy, as a staining agent for DNA, and as a colorant for glass. It is also an important ingredient in specialized pigments and dyes. Moreover, osmium is a valuable tracer of redox reactions and has the potential to be used in biosensors.