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What the name means: Iridium derives from the Greek name for the Goddess of the Rainbow, Iris.
Who identified iridium?: In 1803, Smithson Tennant and William Hyde Wollaston's attempt to purify platinum for commercial purposes led them to identify four new elements present in the platinum ore - palladium, rhodium, iridium and osmium.
In order to purify platinum the two chemists dissolved it in a mixture of concentrated nitric acid and concentrated hydrochloric acid in a 1:3 ratio (a mixture known as aqua regia). There was a black residue remaining after this process. They treated the residue with acids and alkalis during a complex series of reactions. This led them to the identification of osmium. Tennant continued the analysis and identified iridium. The name for the new element was chosen because iridium salts have different colours.
STP = standard temperature and pressure.
About iridium: Indium is one of the rarest elements in the Earth's crust. It is a hard, silvery, brittle metal that is very resistant to corrosion - even more resistant than gold. It is also capable of withstanding very high temperatures. It is used in alloys to harden other metals.
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