Hello and welcome to Teach Kids Chemistry! Today, we will be discussing the fascinating element known as americium. Americium is a man-made element that was first produced in 1944 by a team of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley. It is a radioactive metal that is commonly used in smoke detectors and other industrial applications. Despite its potential dangers, americium has many interesting properties that make it an important element to study. So, let’s dive in and learn more about this unique element!
The Periodic Element Americium Overview
Americium is a synthetic element with the atomic number 95 and the symbol Am. Its atomic mass is 243, and it has 148 neutrons, 95 protons, and 95 electrons. Americium belongs to the actinide series and is located in period 7 and group 3 of the periodic table. It is a solid at room temperature and is classified as a metal. Americium has an electronegativity of 1.3 and a specific heat capacity of 62.7 J/mol·K. Its melting point is 1176°C, and its boiling point is 2607°C. The density of americium is 12 g/cm³.Americium was first synthesized in 1944 by Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, and Albert Ghiorso at the University of California, Berkeley. It was named after the Americas, as it was the fourth transuranium element to be discovered in the Americas. Americium is primarily used in smoke detectors, as it emits alpha particles that ionize the air, causing a current to flow and triggering the alarm. It is also used in nuclear reactors and as a radiation source in medical and industrial applications. Due to its radioactivity, americium poses a health hazard and must be handled with care.
Everyday objects that contain the periodic element americium?
There are many everyday objects that contain chemicals or compounds that can be used to teach chemistry concepts. For example, water is a compound made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, and can be used to teach about chemical formulas and the properties of different elements. Salt, which is made up of sodium and chlorine, can be used to teach about ionic bonding and the properties of salts. Baking soda, which is sodium bicarbonate, can be used to teach about chemical reactions and the properties of acids and bases. Other examples include vinegar, which is acetic acid, and aspirin, which is acetylsalicylic acid. By using everyday objects that contain chemicals, students can learn about chemistry concepts in a simple and relatable way.
Differences in the periodic element americium across states of matter
The state of an element can vary greatly depending on its temperature and pressure. At standard temperature and pressure (STP), most elements are either solids or gases. Solids have a fixed shape and volume, while gases have neither. As temperature and pressure increase, some solids can become liquids, which have a fixed volume but take the shape of their container. As temperature and pressure continue to increase, some liquids can become gases, which have neither a fixed shape nor volume. At extremely high temperatures and pressures, some gases can become plasmas, which are highly ionized and conductive. Plasmas are often found in stars and lightning bolts, and have unique properties such as the ability to emit light.
Is the periodic element americium dangerous or radioactive?
Yes, americium is a radioactive element and can be dangerous if not handled properly. It is a synthetic element that is produced by bombarding plutonium with neutrons in a nuclear reactor. Americium emits alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays, which can penetrate the body and damage cells. Exposure to high levels of americium can cause radiation sickness, cancer, and other health problems. Therefore, it is important to handle americium with caution and follow proper safety protocols when working with it.
Is the periodic element americium rare and expensive?
Yes, americium is a rare and expensive element. It is a synthetic element that is not found in nature and can only be produced in nuclear reactors or particle accelerators. Its production is limited, and it is primarily used in research and nuclear applications. Due to its rarity and the cost of producing it, americium is one of the most expensive elements, with a price of around $1,500 per gram.
Learn about all the elements with a periodic table!