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Information @ a Glance

Introduction

  • Iridium is a hard, lustrous, platinum-like metal.

  • Iridium is the most corrosive resistant metal known.

  • Iridium is virtually insoluble in lead even at high temperatures, and use is often made of this fact in preliminary steps in chemical analysis.

  • Iridium is found uncombined in nature with platinum and other platinum group metals in alluvial deposits.

Extraction Process

  • Solvent extraction is a well established technique in which an aqueous solution is contacted with an immiscible organic liquid containing an extractant specific for an element in the aqueous phase.

  • The separation of platinum, palladium and iridium relies upon a particular metal being sclectivcly extracted from the aqueous phase by an immiscible organic solvent in counter-current mixersettler boxes.

  • Iridium and the other platinum metals tend to occur together. A series of chemical reactions is used to separate one metal from the other. The other metals are then removed by other techniques.
  • Iridium can react with both types chelating extractants, those coordinating through oxygen and/or nitrogen atoms and those coordinating through sulphur atoms, but reaction occurs only when the solution is heated.

Uses

  • Iridium is used principally as a hardening agent for platinum.
  • It is the most corrosion-resistant material known, and was used in making the standard metre bar, which is an alloy of 90% platinum and 10% iridium.
  • Platinum-iridium alloys are used to make crucibles and other high temperature equipment.
  • A major use for iridium is crucibles for producing large, pure, defect-free man-made crystals for electronic and industrial applications.
  • Used as a source of radioactivity (Ir-192) for the treatment of cancer .
  • Iridium is used as a catalyst for carbonylation of methanol to produce acetic acid .

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