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The osmium ball is a very rare metal with an incredible price tag of $900 per troy ounce. It’s so rare that even the most prestigious jewelry brands would have trouble creating it with the resources they have.
It’s hard and brittle which makes it difficult to work with. It’s also poisonous when powdered and can emit osmium tetroxide (OsO4), a highly toxic chemical that can cause lung congestion and skin or eye damage in high concentrations in air.
Osmium is primarily found in the residue left after dissolving platinum ore with aqua regia, a mixture of 25% nitric acid and 75% hydrochloric acid. It was first isolated in 1803 by British chemist Smithson Tennant.
If a 1000kg osmium ball suddenly appeared on the surface of the earth, it could exert a pressure of 1.42 Million PSI. Whether it would burrow to the center of the planet or yawn like an empty spaceship would depend on where it fell and what it was made of.
The osmium ball is used to make alloys that are used in ball point and fountain pens, jewelry like rings, electrical contacts, record player needles and instrument pivots and other devices where frictional wear must be minimized. Often these alloys include osmium with other elements in the platinum group, such as palladium or rhodium. It is also used to make osmium tetroxide, a chemical that has been used to detect fingerprints and stain fatty tissue for microscope slides.