77. Iridium - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Iridium – Iridium – Iridium – Iridio – イリジウム – Иридий – 銥
Multilingual dictionary

Iridium Latin

— Germanic
Iridium Afrikaans
Iridium Danish
Iridium German
Iridium English
Iridium Faroese
Iridium Frisian (West)
Iridín Icelandic
Iridium Luxembourgish
Iridium Dutch
Iridium Norwegian
Iridium Swedish

— Italic
Iridio Aragonese
Iridiumu Aromanian
Iridiu Asturian
Iridi Catalan
Iridio Spanish
Iridium French
Iridi Friulian
Iridio Galician
Iridio Italian
Irídi Lombard
Iridi Occitan
Irídio Portuguese
Iridiu Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Иридий [Iridij] Bulgarian
Iridij[um] Bosnian
Iрыдый [irydyj] Belarusian
Iridium Czech
Iridij Croatian
Jirid Kashubian
Иридиум [Iridium] Macedonian
Iryd Polish
Иридий [Iridij] Russian
Iridium Slovak
Iridij Slovenian
Иридијум [Iridijum] Serbian
Iридій [irydij] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Iridis Lithuanian
Irīdijs Latvian
Ėrėdis Samogitian

— Celtic
Iridiom Breton
Iridiwm Welsh
Iridiam Gaelic (Irish)
Iridiam Gaelic (Scottish)
Iriddjum Gaelic (Manx)
Yrydyum Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Ιριδιο [iridio] Greek
Իրիդիում [iridium] Armenian
Irid, ²Iridiumi Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Îrîdyûm Kurdish
Иридий [Iridij] Ossetian
Иридий [Iridi'] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
ইরিডিয়াম [iriḍiẏāma] Bengali
ایریدیم [ayrydym] Persian
ઇરિડિયમનો [iriḍiyamano] Gujarati
इरिडियम [iriḍiyama] Hindi

Iriidium Estonian
Iridium Finnish
Irídium Hungarian
Иридий [Iridij] Komi
Иридий [Iridij] Mari
Ириди [iridi] Moksha
Iriidium Võro

İridium Azerbaijani
Ириди [Iridi] Chuvash
Иридий [iridij] Kazakh
Иридий [Iridij] Kyrgyz
Ириди [iridi] Mongolian
İridyum Turkish
ئىرىدىي ['iridiy] Uyghur
Iridiy Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Iridioa Basque
ირიდიუმი [iridiumi] Georgian

إريديوم [īrīdiyūm] Arabic
אירידיום [iridium] Hebrew
Iridju[m] Maltese

Yî (銥) Hakka
イリジウム [irijiumu] Japanese
이리듐 [iridyum] Korean
อิริเดียม [iridiam] Thai
Iriđi Vietnamese
[yi1 / yi1] Chinese

Iridyo Cebuano
Iridium Indonesian
Iridium Māori
Iridium Malay

Other Asiatic
ഇറിഡിയം [iṟiḍiyam] Malayalam
இரிடியம் [iriţiyam] Tamil

Ilidu Lingala
Iridiamo Sesotho
Iridi Swahili

Iridio Nahuatl

Iridyu Quechua

Iridimi Sranan Tongo

Iridio Esperanto

New names
Iridon Atomic Elements
Muscleum Dorseyville
memory peg

Incredibly dense, reflective metal with a slightly yellow hue to it
melting point 2410 °C; 4370 °F
boiling point 4130 °C; 7466 °F
density 22.42 g/cc; 1399.63 pounds/cubic foot
1803 Smithson Tennant, England; parallel by Antoine François de Fourcroy and Nicolas Louis Vauquelin, and by Hippolyte Victor Collet-Descotils, France
Ιρις (Iris) = Greek goddess of the rainbow

History & Etymology

Smithson Tennant (1761-1815) discovered Iridium along with Osmium in the summer of 1803 in the black residue formed by the dissolution of native Platinum in aqua regia (see Osmium). As with his Osmium work Tennant heated the black powder, followed by fusion with caustic soda at red heat. The resulting cooled mass was then dissolved in water, and the black residue remaining was treated in "marine acid" (hydrochloric acid). The residue was again fused with caustic soda and extracted with HCl, giving dark red crystals, probably of Na2[IrCl6].nH2O. On heating these an unknown element was obtained as a white powder which "appeared of a white colour, and was not capable of being melted, by any degree of heat I could apply." About the naming of the new element, he wrote:

In 1801 Joseph-Louis Proust (17541826) had studied the dissolution of crude platina in aqua regia and attributed the small amount of black residue remaining to "nothing else but graphite or plumbago", a claim dismissed by Tennant, as noted below. Antoine François de Fourcroy (17551809), working with Nicolas Louis Vauquelin (17631829), took over the research of this black residue.
On the .. September 1803 and 17 vendémiaire an 12 (= 10 October 1803) they read a paper to the Institut National in Paris, published in 1804, in which they described their study of this black solid. They fused it with potash, extracted the cooled melt with water (to give a solution which they believed contained chromium but which may also have contained rhodium later to be isolated by Wollaston in 1804) and treated the residue with more aqua regia. Addition of ammonium chloride to the latter gave, depending on conditions, red or yellow crystals. They thought that the red crystals contained a compound of a new metal, in addition to compounds of titanium, chromium, iron and copper.
These crystals could well have been, or could have contained, iridium as (NH4)2[IrCl6], but crucially they did not name their "new element" (note).

On the same day as their first memoir was read to the Institut in September 1803, Hippolyte Victor Collet-Descotils (17731815), who had been a student of Vauquelin, reported essentially similar results, and published a more concise paper in 1803. Like the cautious Fourcroy and Vauquelin he did not name the new metal which he believed to be present, but said that he would assign it a name after further research. (note).

The memoirs of Fourcroy and Vauquelin and of Collet-Descotils were known to Tennant when he read his paper on the 21 June 1804 (note):

Upon making some experiments, last summer [1803], on the black powder which remains after the solution of platina, I observed that it did not, as was generally believed, consist chiefly of plumbago, but contained some unknown metallic ingredients. Intending tot repeat my experiments with more attentions during the winter [1803/04], I mentioned the results of them to Sir Joseph Banks, together with my intention of communicating to the Royal Society my examination of this substance, as soon as it should appear in any degree satisfactory.
Two memoirs were afterward published in France, one of them by M. Descotils and the other by Messrs. Vauquelin and Fourcroy. M. Descotils chiefly directs his attention to the effects produced by this substance on the solution of platina. He remarks that a small portion of it is always taken up by nitromuriatic acid during its action on platina; and, principally from the observations he is thence enabled to make, he infers that it contains a new metal [= iridium, PvdK], which, among other properties, has that of giving a deep red colour to the precipitates of platina. M. Vauquelin attempted a more direct analysis of the substance, and obtained from it the same metal as that discovered by M. Descotils. But neither of these chemists have observed that it contains also another metal [= osmium, PvdK], different from any hitherto known.

According to some authors, Fourcroy and Vauquelin gave the new substance the name of Ptene, from Greek πτηνος (ptènos) = winged. This Ptene consisted of Osmium and Iridium. Griffith wrote about this name: "There are references in the literature to ptene or ptène (...) as a name for osmium; indeed, Tennant is said to have proposed this name for it, whereas Partington says that Fourcroy and Vauquelin proposed it. The author can find no trace of this ungainly name either in Tennant's paper or in those of the French authors." (the references are J.N. Friend, Man and the Chemical Elements, London: Griffin, 1951, p. 303, and J. R. Partington, A History of Chemistry, London: Macmillan, 1962, Vol. 3, p. 105).

The element is named after Iris (Ἴρις), in Greek mythology the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. As the sun unites Earth and heaven, Iris links the gods to humanity. She travels with the speed of wind from one end of the world to the other, and into the depths of the sea and the underworld. Iris is represented either as a rainbow, or as a young maiden with wings on her shoulders. As a goddess, Iris is associated with communication, messages, the rainbow and new endeavors. She is the goddess of the rainbow (note).

Chemistianity 1873
IRIDIUM, Platinum's twin companion
And to which it has a great resemblance,
Is a white and brittle metal that fuses
With difficulty in the Compound Blowpipe flame.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 186
Further reading
  • Griffith, W.P., Bicentenary of Four Platinum Group Metals, Part II: Osmium and Iridium events surrounding their discoveries. In: Platinum Metals Review 48, 4 (October 2004): 182-189 (on-line).
  • International Platinum Association, Iridium History (on-line).
  • Platinum. Gmelins Handbuch der anorganische Chemie, 8. Aufl.; System-Nummer 68 (1951), Pt. A. pp. 12-13.
  • Tennant, Smithson, "On two Metals, found in the black powder remaining after the solution of Platina." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 95 (1805), 411-418.
  • Weeks, Mary Elvira, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 414-418.
  • Greek Mythology: IRIS Goddess of the Rainbow & Messenger of the Gods w/ Pictures (on-line) (The illustration to the right is from that page).

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements