I know osmium powder will produce osmium tetroxide when exposed to air,but what about solid piece of osmium,such as pellet or ring,finely polished to minimize surface area,will this produce significant tetroxide at 24 degrees celsius air?

How much tetroxide will 1 cm2 surface area of polished osmium produce in 24 hours when exposed to air at 24 celsius?

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    $\begingroup$ Osmium tetroxide will be formed at an osmium surface exposed to air. The question is whether enough is formed to be harmful. Perhaps not, but perhaps nobody has ever tried so if you want to be the first... $\endgroup$
    – matt_black
    Apr 3 '18 at 12:14
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    $\begingroup$ As one MSDS indicates: "Potential Acute Health Effects: Extremely hazardous in case of ingestion. Very hazardous in case of inhalation. Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant). Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (permeator). Prolonged exposure may result in skin burns and ulcerations. Over-exposure by inhalation may cause respiratory irritation. Severe over-exposure can result in death." As @matt_black says, there will be an oxide on the surface of the metal, and it will be right on your skin. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Apr 3 '18 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ I would like to add one sub-question,how much of the osmium oxidation at 24 C air is actualy tetroxide? There is also osmium dioxide,is the oxidatation at living room temperatures tetroxide only,dioxide only or some mixture of the two? Is the type of oxide depending on temperature? Becose if osmium is producing mainly tetroxide,that means solid piece of osmium such as pellet or ring will spontaneously disappear over long period of time becose osmium tetroxide is volatile,the oxide layer will continuously evaporate,uncover naked osmium,form & repeat till nothing is left,at 24 C seems unlikely. $\endgroup$ Apr 3 '18 at 18:59

A block of Osmium is quite immune to atmospheric attack, due to the low surface area of the osmium, but when heated it can form Osmium tetroxide. I wouldn't like to risk wearing an osmium ring just incase Osmium tetroxide is formed. The oxide has a pungent smell so if you do wear a ring of Osmium, at least you'll have some form of warning to take it off. So really, I wouldn't recommend it, but do it at your own risk.

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    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't rely on the smell. Sister wiki says, that inhalation at concentrations well below those at which a smell can be perceived can lead to pulmonary edema and subsequent death. $\endgroup$ Apr 3 '18 at 15:22

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