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Information @ a Glance


  • Osmium is a chemical element that has the symbol Os and atomic number 76.
  • Osmium is a hard, brittle, blue-gray or blue-black transition metal in the platinum family.
  • Osmium is found in nature as an alloy in platinum ore.
  • Osmium is generally considered to be the densest known element, narrowly defeating iridium.
  • Osmium is uneffected by water and acids, but dissolves with molten alkalis.
  • Osmium is unworkable as a metal.


  • Osmium is obtained when platinum metal is extracted from its ores.
  • For osmium analyses, platinum filaments are required. Because platinum very often contains considerable amounts of osmium, rhenium and tungsten, it is essential to use ultra pure platinum material.
  • Osmium catalysed aminohydroxylation of (E)-stilbene 1 with chloramine-T yielded varying amounts of an amino ketone.
  • The majority of osmium is produced either as osmium tetroxide or metallic osmium.


  • The major use of Osmium tetroxide material is for histological examination of tissue specimens.
  • A substantial fraction of the osmium consumed by the chemical industry is apparently used for research purposes.
  • Osmium, or its alloys, is still used for pivots, bearings, phonograph needles, and engraving tools because of its hardness.
  • Osmium, used primarily in pen nibs and armor-piercing weapon shells.
  • Osmium isotopes in seawater sediment can be used to reveal ancient meteorite strikes.


  • The hypothesis of the significance of the black precipitate formed in osmium preparations can be tested using Osmium techniques.
  • A new technique, fixing with high levels of glutaraldehyde,replacing osmium with tannic acid followed by other heavy metals and p-phenylenediamine, and embedding in Epon.
  • A newly acquired mass spectrometer MI 1201 by the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory will be adapted to determine rhenium and osmium isotope concentrations using negative thermal ionization mass spectrometry (NTIMS).


  • Osmium has only limited use in relatively expensive end-products because of its high cost, fluctuating price, and short supply.
  • Existing markets for osmium metal are very competitive; consequently, suppliers and dealers are reluctant to disclose information on either uses or consumers.
  • Engelhard Industries, a major producer of osmium.

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