Valuable Metals #5 Iridium

#5 Iridium

Type of Metal:

A member of the platinum group metals, iridium is white, resembling platinum, but with a slight yellowish cast. Because of its hardness, brittleness, and very high melting point, solid iridium is difficult to machine, form, or work.

What it’s used for:

Iridium is widely used to harden platinum, make devices requiring high temperatures, and in electrical contacts. It is also used in coating optical lenses to reduce glare and enhance clarity. Osmiridium, a combination of the elements osmium and iridium, is used for fountain pens and compass bearings.

Where it comes from:

The discovery of iridium is intertwined with that of platinum and the other metals of the platinum group. Native platinum used by ancient Ethiopians and by South American cultures always contained small amounts of the other platinum group metals, including iridium. Chemists who studied platinum dissolved it in a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids which left small amounts of a dark, insoluble residue. In 1803, British scientist Smithson Tennant analyzed this residue and concluded that it was a new metal. This discovery was documented in a letter to the Royal Society on June 21, 1804.

So how much is it worth?

The average amount for 1 troy ounce for iridium in the year 2012 is $1,085. After plunging 62 percent in 2013, iridium rose to a three-month high of $485 an ounce since the end of December 2013 and is currently forecast to continue to rise through 2016.

Is it recyclable?

Yes, iridium can be recycled. Recycling provides secondary sources of iridium, primarily from used reforming catalysts that contain it, as well as iridium and iridium alloy returns from industrial and laboratory use.

To find out what metals you can recycle at our Garner/Raleigh location, visit TT&E’s site for Scrap Metals We Buy >>