[2014] Nathan Matthew Wu: Actinides

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[2014] Nathan Matthew Wu: Actinides

Uranium mostly occurs in the Earth's crust, and as a mixture of its oxides in the mineral uraninite. There are many other uranium minerals, like carnotite and autunite.Traces of plutonium can be found in uranium minerals. Because it is so scarce in nature, most plutonium is produced synthetically.Insignificant amounts of curium are found in nature.

Actinides are found at the bottom of the periodic table for convenience and making the periodic table smaller and condense.

Most actinides have 1 or 2 valence electrons, but some have as many as 6 valence electrons.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley laboratories synthesized the first atoms of the element californium. It was created by bombarding a curium target with high energy alpha particles.


All of these actinides are used today in some ways.1.Nuclear reactions of uranium-235 and plutonium-239 are currently utilized in atomic energy powerplants to generate electric power. 2. Plutonium-238 is used in implants in the human body to power the heart pacemaker3. Curium and plutonium are used as power sources on the Moon to provide electrical energy for transmitting messages to Earth.4. Used in smoke detectors, fuel, and in nucelar weapons

Uranium and Neptunium

Curium and Fermium

Plutonium and Californium

Why are the actinides grouped together?1. They are all transition metals2. They are all radioactive3. All have a silvery or silvery-white luster in metallic form. The metals tarnish readily in air, and as hard as soft steel 4. High density and plasticity5. Melting points are unusually low 640 degrees Celsius. 6. Some are combustable and combine with nonmetals


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