What's The Densest Element?


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Chris Hickman answered
The densest element can either be iridium or osmium. It depends how you measure. The two metals are so close in density that they have swapped places in the table several times over the years.
The third densest is easier to pick – it is platinum followed by rhenium, neptunium, plutonium and gold.
Osmium and iridium were discovered in 1803 by English chemist Smithson Tennant. Osmium is very rare and also very hard. It is a silver blue metal.
Tennant was also the first scientist to prove that a diamond is pure carbon.
Osmium is from the Greek 'osme' to smell. Osmium gives off osmium tetroxide which has a strong irritating odour that can damage lungs and eyes. It will also give you a whacking headache. Singularly osmium tetroxide is used in finger printing because its vapour reacts with minute traces of oil from the skin to form black deposits.
Owing to its hardness osmium used to be used to make gramophone styluses.

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