History Of Uranium Discovered: 1789 Location: Germany Who Discovered It: Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1734-1817) (1789) and Eugene Péligot (1811-1890) (1841) When Klaproth first announced the discovery of this new element, he mistakenly named it Uranium. He had actually discovered an oxide of ‘Uranium’. This was unknown until 1841 when Péligot isolated the ‘Old Uranium’ to produce a pure substance of ‘New Uranium’. However, the credit for discovery still goes to Klaproth, and the element is still named Uranium. Which surprisingly enough is named after the planet Uranus.
Properties Of Uranium
Atomic Number: 92
State at Room Temperature: Solid
Color: Varies, mainly Silvery/Silvery-White
Melting/Boiling Point: 1405.5K /4018K
Uranium found naturally appears to be very similar to a simple rock you would find outside. But instead is much heavier and dangerously radioactive 3
Isotopes of Uranium Uranium has a 16 different isotopes, All of them being radioactive. Generally only 3 of the isotopes are commonly talked about today. 234U, 235U, and 238U
235U 235U contains 0.711% of naturally found Uranium, so not very much. However is greatly used in many aspects. Under certain circumstances 235U can be easily split, creating A LOT of energy, mostly in the form of heat. I could tell you the amount of energy released by one atom of 235U, but you would be unable to grasp the quantity of it, so lets compare. The amount of energy a single atom of 235U is greater than the energy created from burning 50 million carbon atoms. In other terms it is 20,000 times the amount of energy released by an atom of coal. (keep in mind which is also used to create energy through the form of heat)
238U 238U consumes most of amount of naturally found Uranium at 98.3%. 238U has a half life of 4.5 billion years. Because of this we can use this element to estimate the age igneous rock. 238U is commonly used as radiation shielding because of its high number of electrons allow it to effectively block Gamma and X-rays
Availability of Uranium Uranium is found in minerals such as pitchblende, uranophane, cleveite and many others. Uranium can also be found in phosphate rock. Uranium is naturally presented in a U3O8 form. To obtain pure uranium many different ways, the most common way is by reducing uranium oxides with calcium, carbon, or aluminum at high temperatures. The going price for uranium is $48.83 U.S. dollars per pound.
The Early Days of Uranium Before they realized how valuable and dangerous uranium was, it was used as coloring agents in ceramic glass and tinting in photography. Due to the amount of radioactivity and the need for uranium elsewhere, these are no longer uses for it.
Military Uses for Uranium Depleted uranium is used for armor plating, missile heads, and armor piercing casing due to its high density. The problem is some uranium breaks down into a highly radioactive oxide dust on impact of a missile explosion. This dust like substance is very dangerous and carcinogenic.
This is the aftermath of a child that was victimized of depleted uranium after a missile explosion
The Main Use of Uranium The main use for uranium is to fuel nuclear power plants The compound of uranium used for nuclear power is UO2. To obtain UO2 from naturally occurring U3O8 you must reduce it using ammonia though various different steps. Uranium provides about 4% of the world's non-renewable energy.
Fun Facts About Uranium One pound ball of uranium will only have a diameter of 1.3 inches. A uranium-colored glass object was found near Naples, Italy, and dated to about 79 A.D. One ton of uranium can produce the equivalent energy of 16,000 tons of coal or 80,000 barrels of oil.