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Neptunium

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Neptunium
Neptunium
General Info
Atomic Symbol Atomic symbol::Np
Atomic Number Atomic number::93
Atomic Weight Atomic weight::237 g/mol
Chemical series Actinides
Appearance =?
Neptunium 237 sphere
Group, Period, Block none,7,f-block
Electron configuration [Rn] 5f4 6d1, 7s2
Electrons per shell 2,8,18,32,22,8,2
Electron shell neptunium.png
CAS number CAS number::7439-99-8
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density Density::20.2 g/ml
Melting point Melting point::910 K
Boiling point Boiling point::4273 K
Isotopes of Neptunium
iso NA half-life DT DE (MeV) DP
is stable with neutrons.
All properties are for STP unless otherwise stated.

Neptunium is a radioactive chemical element that is classified as a transition metal and an actinide. It's a man made element and even got a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1951. Neptunium is the most mobile actinide in the deep geological repository environment. The primary decay mode before the most stable isotope is electron capture. Neptunium is both fissionable and fissile. Neptunium eventually decays to form the element bismuth. Bismuth is different than most of the other common heavy on weight nuclei, which when it is decayed it makes lead.

Properties

Neptunium has a boiling point of 1,180 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a silvery white metallic look to itself. Neptunium's has a density of 20.45 grams per cubic centimeter. Neptunium is a reactive element that can also form some unusual compounds. Some examples of these unusual compounds are: neptunium dialuminide and neptunium beryllide. The reasoning of the compounds being so unusual is because they are being two metals being combined to one, and two metals do not combine very easily with each other. Neptunium also forms normal compounds. These compounds consist of: neptunium dioxide, neptunium trifluoride, and neptunium nitrite.

Synthesis

When Neptunium was first discovered in 1940, it was the first synthetic transubstantiation be discovered. Which means that it was the first man made element. This element was produced by two men, McMillan and Abelson. They were at the University of California in Berkley while this discovery took place.[1] To create Neptunium there are certain steps needed to be taken. First the reduction of NpF3 with a barium or lithium vapor at approximately 1200°C. Neptunium is a radioactive element which means Neptunium is mostly produced by nuclear reactions. When an 235U atom creates a neutron, it is transformed to an excited state of 236U. About 81% of the excited 236U nuclei undergo fission, but the remainder decay to the ground state of 236U by emitting gamma radiation. More neutron capture creates 237U which has a half-life of 7 days and quickly decays to 237Np through beta decay. During the decay, the excited 237U emits an electron, while the atomic weak interaction converts a neutron to a proton, which creating 237Np.

Uses

Neptunium ions in solution

Neptunium has no major use in the world, though can be useful for some things. Neptunium has several uses to the man made element. Some of these uses are: Intermediate in the preparation of plutonium 238, In the instruments for the detection of high energy neutrons, Possible use in the future as material for nuclear weapons and a use in the future as nuclear fuel. All of these are very true element that Neptunium has and might have in the future. No country has used Neptunium as a nuclear weapon yet, though it is very possible that country's will look at Neptunium as a valuable resource. There is a reason Neptunium could be used as a weapon and is a very hazardous element in the table. Neptunium gives off radiation, which can cause harm to both humans and animals. If it is handled it must be taken very seriously. The radiation transfers large amounts of energy to cells and is penetrating. Cells that are damaged, but not killed, often reproduce out of control. This growth by damaged cells forms tumors and causes related problems for organs and tissues. Like almost all radioactive elements, if exposed, can be a very likely chance of a life morality of cancer. Ingestion of the element is the most likely of exposure.

History

Neptunium was the first element that has been man made. Neptunium was discovered by Edwin McMillan and Philip Abelson in 1940 in the United States. The name of Neptunium came from the planet Neptune. The reason for naming it that is because Neptunium is the next outer most planet beyond Uranus. In the Periodic Table Neptunium is the next one next to Uranium. Neptunium is a radioactive element that can be very dangerous if exposed to. It is a bi-product in the making of Plutonium. After the discovery McMillan was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1951. This whole discovery started at the California University of Berkley. Initially predicted by Walter Russell's spiral organization of the periodic table, it was found at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley where the team produced the neptunium isotope.

References

  1. Gagnon, Steve. The Element Neptunium Jefferson Lab. Web. 10/28/11.
  • Winter, Mark. Neptunium Web Elements. Web. 10/29/11.
  • Neptunium-Np Lenntech. Web. 10/22/11. Unknown author
  • Neptunium Elementogy and Elements Multidict. Web. 10/22/11. Unknown author