By Arjun Bhatnagar
Element name: Plutonium
Origin of name: The team had suggested the name plutonium for the new element, in honor of the planet Pluto. The two elements just before plutonium in the periodic table were named after planetsuranium for Uranus and neptunium for Neptune. Edwin MacMillan also dubbed the element symbol “Pu” for plutonium as a joke, which ended up on the periodic table without notice.
Glenn T. Seaborg, Edwin M. McMillian, J.W. Kennedy, and A.C. Wohl It was discovered in 1940 in the United States of America Its symbol is Pu and its atomic number is 94. Its atomic mass is 244g
Plutonium’s melting point is at 640oC or 913 K The boiling point would be at 3228oC or 3501 K Its density is 19.84 g/mL Plutonium’s abundance in the Earth’s crust is 0% for it is produced in laboratories. Only very small traces are found in uranium ore. At room and temperature and pressure Plutonium is found as a solid.
Is an element that reacts with over 9 different elements. It reacts with Boron, Carbon, Fluorine, Hydrogen, Chlorine, Oxygen, Sulfur, Nitrogen, and alloys with elements like Gallium. These reactions form: 1. PuH2 - Plutonium hydride 2. PuC - Plutonium carbide 3. PuB - Plutonium boride 4. PuCl3 - Plutonium (III) chloride 5. PuF3 - Plutonium (III) fluoride 6. PuF4 – Plutonium (IV) fluoride 7. PuF6 - Plutonium hexafluoride 8. PuO2 – Plutonium (IV) oxide Plutonium is also an unstable element that decays radioactively into other elements. It becomes stable at room temperature when alloyed with a small percentage of germanium, aluminum, or cerium, enhancing workability and allowing it to be welded. The elements in its actinide group follow these characteristics. The elements in its group are thorium, protactinium, uranium, neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium, californium,
Plutonium is a synthesized element so it is produced in labs. Plutonium, however, has been found in very small traces in uranium ores. It has also been found in soil as a result of nuclear weapons experiments. Plutonium is found in the form of a pure substance and it is found in these compound forms: 1. PuH2 - Plutonium hydride 2. PuC - Plutonium carbide 3. PuB - Plutonium boride 4. PuCl3 - Plutonium (III) chloride 5. PuF3 - Plutonium (III) fluoride 6. PuF4 – Plutonium (IV) fluoride 7. PuF6 - Plutonium hexafluoride 8. PuO2 – Plutonium (IV) oxide Plutonium is radioactive and its most common isotope is Plutonium-239 whose half-life is about 24,110 years. The product of the radioactive decay of this isotope is Uranium-235.
Plutonium is used as an explosive in nuclear weapons. The detonation of a kilogram of plutonium produces an explosion equal to that produced by approximately 20,000 tons of chemical explosive. It is therefore used when making atomic bombs.
Plutonium is used for nuclear power. One kilogram of plutonium is equivalent to 22 million kilowatt hours of heat energy, so plutonium is very important for nuclear energy. Plutonium has enough energy that when placed in water, boiling occurs.
Plutonium is used for long lasting batteries that are used in space probes, satellites, and pacemakers. A radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) is an electrical generator that obtains its power from the radioactive decay of plutonium or other elements. It is a type of battery that is used to power satellites and space probes where only a few hundred watts of power are needed for a long duration of time. Fuel cell batteries and solar cells are not practical for this use.