Our planet is rich in valuable resources, but there are also some that are measured in crumbs. It may seem strange, but these elements are some of the most popular in the world. These include heavy metals. Just imagine, an 8 cm cube of the world’s heaviest metal weighs as much as 12 kg (!). Today we will talk about the “heavyweights” in the world of metals.
Top 10 heaviest metals by density
|Top 10 Densest Metals||1||Tantalum||16.64 g/cm3|
Density: 16.64 g/cm
Melting/boiling point: 3017
Very rare metal, but not the heaviest in the world. Under natural conditions it is a silvery-white solid with a slight bluish tint (oxide film). Tantalum was discovered as far back as 1802, but it was not immediately isolated: until 1844 it was identified with another metal, niobium.
Tantalum is one of the world’s most refractory metals (it surpasses even the world’s heaviest) and does not react with air; it oxidizes only when its surface temperature rises to 280°C
One of the interesting aspects of tantalum is its paramagnetism (the metal is magnetized in the direction of the field when it is exposed to a magnetic field). In addition, tantalum impresses by its resistance to aggressive environments: its surface does not “succumb” even to 70% nitric acid. This unusual metal is used in the military industry (for creation of munitions), in medicine (production of prostheses), in nuclear industry (creation of nuclear reactors) etc.
Interesting fact: despite its high strength, tantalum is very ductile (it can be compared to gold), so the pure metal is very easy to work with.
Density: 18.92 g/cm
Melting Point/Boiling Point: 1132
The main and not the best characteristic of this solid metal is its radioactivity. Uranium undergoes a long phase of transformation in nature, consisting of 14 steps, culminating in its transformation into lead. True, this process takes billions of years.
When pure, uranium is very heavy, has a silvery white color, high ductility (it is slightly softer than steel), and weak paramagnetic properties. Uranium oxidizes easily when in contact with air, and the powdered substance is self-igniting at about 150
The main and obvious use of uranium is in the nuclear industry. Nuclear power industry (production of reactors, power units, etc.) is considered to be an active “consumer” of gold.). In recent years, special emphasis has been placed on development of methods for mining uranium from seawater, where the concentration of solid matter – 3 μg / L).
Density: 19.21 g/cm
Melting / boiling point: 3422
Its rather original name (from the Latin. – “wolfsbane”) was obtained because it interfered with the smelting of tin ore, turning it into a foam of slag when accompanied by tin ore. That is, in fact it devoured a sheep like a wolf.
Tungsten is a shining, light grey solid. It is the most refractory metal on the planet: its melting point is close to the solar photosphere. Also has the highest proven boiling point on the planet. True, a “competitor” has recently appeared – siborgium with a higher (assumed) melting point, but this is not known for sure due to the short duration of the metal’s existence.
Tungsten created a furor in the industry and today it is used as the base for heat resistant alloys. Its high strength also makes it a useful metal for many applications in human life: it is used in aircraft engines, filaments, electrical vacuum equipment, etc.
Density: 19.85 g/cm
Melting point / boiling point: 1064
One of the hardest metals on earth, but it is also incredibly malleable: it can be made into a sheet as thin as 0.1 micron (the so-called gold leaf). It is for this reason that this noble yellow metal has found its rightful place in jewelry. However, gold has a high density, which makes it much easier to mine.
Gold has a very high rate of electrical conductivity, which could make this metal indispensable in the process of creating microcircuits, but alas, the cost of raw materials is very high and their prevalence is low.
Gold does not react with oxygen and most elements. The metal is unaffected by acids and alkalis. (The only exception is vodka, which serves to verify the purity of metals). Gold is one of the few metals used not only in industry, but also for human benefit (it is actively used in homeopathy, dentistry). This noble metal is also widely used in banking: it still guarantees the stability of any currency and is a reliable investment instrument.
Density: 19.85 g/cm
Melting / boiling point: 640
“The little brother of uranium and highly radioactive. It is mined in natural conditions, but a little and rarely, because it is simply impractical, but it is easily obtained in a multi-stage conversion of uranium. Became the first chemically artificial substance, produced on an industrial scale.
Enriched and natural uranium is used to produce plutonium. Some years ago it was reported that in 2010, the last plutonium producing reactor in the world (in Russia) was shut down. But in the same year Japan launched a nuclear reactor. It is true, it didn’t make it work for long, because a few months after it was put into operation, the reactor was stopped, and after the Fukushima Daiichi tragedy, they abstained from putting it into operation. In 2016 it was decided to recycle the reactor.
Because of its military potential, plutonium is used extensively in the production of nuclear weapons (weapons-grade plutonium), as a source of energy for spacecraft and as fuel for nuclear reactors.
Density: 20.48 g/cm
Melting/Boiling Temperature: 640
Another radioactive “brainchild” of uranium from nuclear reactions. Considered to be the first transuranium element. It is a relatively soft substance with good malleability, reacts slowly with air, and oxidizes quickly at high temperatures. This metal occurs in trace quantities on earth, so mining it in natural conditions is simply pointless.
Neptunium is dangerous to humans through radioactive decay: about 70-80% of its particles are deposited in bone tissue, causing complete damage (the extent of the damage depends on the valence of the isotopes). Its main use is for producing plutonium.
Density: 21.01 g/cm
Melting/Boiling Temperature: 3186
The discovery of a dense, silver-colored metal was predicted by Mendeleev as far back as 1871, but its actual discovery came only a century and a half later (in 1925). Rhenium was the last element to be discovered with a stable isotope: all later discovered elements had none.
Rhenium is one of the rarest elements on our planet. Its geochemical properties are similar to those of tungsten. The silvery white metal is considered one of the hardest and densest of all existing metals. In its pure form, rhenium is already malleable at room temperature, but retains its full strength even when repeatedly heated or cooled.
Rhenium is not easily available, and its production is very costly, that is why the metal is one of the most expensive: the price for 1 kg varies from 1000 to 10000 dollars. “Extraction” of rhenium occurs mainly in the processing of molybdenum and copper raw materials.
The scope of rhenium application is determined by a number of its properties (refractoriness, resistance to most reagents, etc.).). Its costliness is a consideration: the use of metal is limited to those instances where it offers an advantage over the use of other. Rhenium is mostly used in the production of rocket parts (especially in rocket and rocket engines).
Density: 21.44 g/cm
Melting/boiling point: 1768
“Hardy” and hard platinum has practically reached the top of our ranking, which is not surprising: it is one of the heaviest metals in the world. The precious substance is also one of the rarest on the planet. By the way, even the so-called native metal cannot be considered pure: it contains up to 20% iron, rhodium, iridium, osmium and, less frequently, copper.
Platinum is considered one of the most inert metals and does not react with acids and bases. The shiny, silvery metal is actively used in jewelry and glasswork, medicine (surgery), chemical industry, automobile construction and, due to its resistance to vacuum, also in creation of spacecrafts.
An interesting fact: most of the platinum reserves of the world “hidden” in the depths of only five countries – Russia, China, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States.
Density: 22.53 g/cm
Melting point/boiling point: 2466
In fact, iridium shares first place with osmium – the difference in density of these substances – a hundredth of a gram. Nevertheless, this “heavyweight” is, nevertheless, that little bit lighter. This is a very rare valuable metal which does not react with acids, water, or even air. Iridium, like the leader of the world’s hardest metals, is a refractory substance that is difficult to work with.
Corollary to the Greek word for rainbow, which is no surprise as the iridium salt has an incredible palette of colors, ranging from copper-red to bright blue. Iridium, which is white and has a slightly silvery, mirror-like shade, is considered the most hardy and one of the rarest grades on the planet, with no more than 10 tons mined per year, and most deposits are located where meteorites fell.
Used in precision engineering as an indicator of the tightness of welding seams. It is actively used by paleontologists and geologists as a temporary indicator of a detected layer of a particular rock. One of the heaviest metals on the planet is also often used for generating electricity. In recent years, iridium has had a number of surprising and unusual applications: for electrical nerve stimulation and in the manufacture of prostheses for the human eye and ear apparatus.
Density: 22.62 g/cm
Melting / boiling point: 2466
The heaviest “representative” of the periodic table and, accordingly, the heaviest metal in the world. The year 1803 was actually a turning point for this element, since during this period of time its discovery occurred literally in racing conditions: two scientists discovered osmium in parallel – Tennant and de Fourcroix. Tennant, however, achieved clearer and more profound results, and in official papers filed with the Royal Society of London, indicated that the element found was conventionally divided into two metals, iridium and osmium.
Mining osmium is costly because it is rare and difficult to. Hence the impressive price of $15,000 per gram of substance. The density of osmium is only slightly higher than that of iridium, although the properties of both species are not yet fully understood. The heaviest metal in the world is not friendly to high temperatures: it is very refractory.
Osmium belongs to the group of platinum elements and is conventionally noble. Though osmium forms beautiful silvery blue crystals when hardening, it is not suitable for jewelry making because it is absolutely inextricable and cannot be forged. Characterized by a specific odor – garlic-chlorine mixture.
Highly prized for its durability: The metal is often added to form components that are subjected to frequent and severe friction. Such alloys become incredibly strong and resistant to any impact.