Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Iridium metallicum

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latin iris means rainbow


Traditional name

Used parts

trit 1x


mineral; inorganic, platium group



Original proving

Hering: Guid. Symptoms, V. 6. (A. J. Tafel.)

Description of the substance

iridium , metallic chemical element; symbol Ir; at. no. 77; at. wt. 192.22; m.p. about 2,410°C; b.p. about 4,130°C; sp. gr. 22.55 at 20°C; valence +3 or +4.
Iridium is a very hard, usually brittle, extremely corrosion-resistant silver-white metal with a face-centered cubic crystalline structure. It falls between platinum and osmium in group VIII of the periodic table. It is not certain whether osmium or iridium is the most dense element. Iridium is found uncombined in nature as the metal and in combination with osmium and platinum. It is obtained commercially from osmiridium, a byproduct of platinum production. The metal is used in pivot bearings and in scientific and other special equipment, such as surgical tools. It is also used in making chemical crucibles. Iridium is used principally in alloys.
 Iridium is chemically very unreactive. Pure iridium metal is not attacked by acids or acid mixtures, not even by aqua regia, which dissolves gold. Fluorine and chlorine attack it only at a red heat. It is oxidized slowly at high temperatures. It resists attack by fused bases and by most molten metals. Iridium was discovered in 1804 by Smithson Tennant; it is so named because of its various highly colored salts.
(The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2004, Columbia University Press.)

Iridium is found uncombined in nature with platinum and other platinum group metals in alluvial deposits. Naturally occurring iridium alloys include osmiridium and iridiosmium, both of which are mixtures of iridium and osmium. It is recovered commercially as a by-product from nickel mining and processing.
There are two natural isotopes of iridium, and many radioisotopes, the most stable being Ir-192 with a half-life of 73.83 days. Ir-192 decays into platinum, while most of the other radioisotopes decay into osmium.
Iridium metal is generally non-toxic due to its relative unreactivity, but iridium compounds should be considered highly toxic.

Chengdeite (Ir3Fe, Iridium Iron) is one of the most dense minerals known. At a specific gravity of 19.3 it far exceeds all but a very few minerals. Gold is about 9% lighter at a lowly SG of 17.65 and platinum is slightly better at 18.00. Chengdeite in fact is only beat out by minerals that are more enriched in iridium and/or osmium; specifically the minerals iridium, osmium and iridosmine, an iridium/osmium alloy. Iridium, at a calculated density of 22.65 grams per cubic centimeter, is probably the densest element known to man. Although osmium, at 22.61 g/cubic cm, is close enough to make the distinction difficult. Most people think lead is the most dense! But at 11.37 g/cm3, its barely halfway there!
Chengdeite is classified as an element dispite the fact, that in chemical reality, it is a compound! Minerals like chengdeite are alloys with metallic bonds that are very similar to the more pure metallic elements and are thus classified as elements. Chengdeite is very rare and new to the mineral world. It is named for Chengde County, China from where it was discovered in placer deposits in just the early 1990's. Since then it has been found as a trace mineral in chromite rich ultra-mafic igneous deposits.

Color is black.
Luster is metallic.
Transparency: Specimens are opaque.
Crystal System is isometric; bar 4 3 m.
Crystal Habits include nuggets found in placer deposits.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is hackly.
Hardness is 5
Specific Gravity is 19.3 (well above average, even for a metallic mineral)
Streak is black.
Associated Minerals include olivine, chromite and other ultra-mafic igneous minerals.