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Iridium is a precious metal that is 6 times harder and 8 times stronger than platinum, it has a 1,200(=F) higher melting point than platinum and conducts electricity better. This makes it possible to create the finest wire center electrode ever. Prior till now, platinum had been favored for long life or performance spark plugs due to its high melting point, also the technology did not exist to machine and bond iridium on a spark plug electrode(at least in a cost effective manner). Iridium industrial spark plugs have been around for years, but still sells for over a hundred dollars per plug. Just now is the technology available to effectively use iridium in a spark plug for automotive applications. The strength, hardness and high melting point of iridium allows NGK to manufacture there iridium ultra-fine wire center electrode to 0.7mm. One of the finest firing points in the industry! (Thus far there has been no problems reported regarding use of iridium plugs with nitrous oxide.)