Up In a Cloud of Dust
Founded by the British chemist Smithson Tennant in 1803, Iridium (getting its name from the Latin word Iris), and it has 77 Protons, 115 Neutrons, and 77 Electrons. Thanks to its fairly high melting point, it can be used in high-temperature structures (such as crucibles when mixed with platinum). It can also be mixed with osmium to make fountain pen tips and compass bearings. Meteors contain much higher iridium content than the Earth does. Scientists have exclaimed that the reason there is iridium on Earth is because once upon a time, a meteor struck Earth and the dust from the impact spread all around the planet; this caused the sun to be blocked out and for many plant and animal species to become extinct. This is how they believe the dinosaurs were wiped out.
Why Can't Iridium Be Used By Itself?
Iridium, itself, is actually very brittle. This means that it would break apart easily if it were to be used in machinery; this is why it is mixed with platinum. It acts as a hardening agent for the platinum and allows them to be used in machinery and it is allowed to be heated at super high temperature.