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osmium os·mi·um (ŏz'mē-əm)
A hard metallic element, found in small amounts in osmiridium and platinum ores. Atomic number 76; atomic weight 190.2; melting point 3,000°C; boiling point 5,000°C; specific gravity 22.57; valence 3, 4, 6, 8.
A hard, brittle, bluish-white metallic element that is the densest naturally occurring element. It is used to make very hard alloys for fountain pen points, electrical contacts, and instrument pivots. Atomic number 76; atomic weight 190.2; melting point 3,000°C; boiling point 5,000°C; specific gravity 22.57; valence 2, 3, 4, 8. See Periodic Table.
(Os), chemical element, one of the platinum metals of Group VIIIb of the periodic table and the densest naturally occurring element. A gray-white metal, osmium is very hard, brittle, and difficult to work, even at high temperatures. Of the platinum metals it has the highest melting point, so fusing and casting are difficult. Osmium wires were used for filaments of early incandescent lamps before the introduction of tungsten. It has been used chiefly as a hardener in alloys of the platinum metals, though ruthenium has generally replaced it. A hard alloy of osmium and iridium has been used for tips of fountain pens and phonograph needles, and osmium tetroxide is used in certain organic syntheses.