Plutonium Properties, Molecular Formula, Applications - WorldOfChemicals

Plutonium Properties




Plutonium is a transuranic radioactive chemical element. It is also a radioactive poison that accumulates in bone marrow. These and other properties make the handling of plutonium extremely dangerous. It was first synthesized in 1940 by a team led by Glenn T. Seaborg and Edwin McMillan at the University of California, Berkeley laboratory by bombarding uranium-238 with deuterons. Plutonium-239 is the isotope most useful for nuclear weapons. Plutonium-239 and 241 are fissile, meaning the nuclei of their atoms can split when bombarded by neutrons, releasing energy, gamma radiation and more neutrons. These neutrons can sustain a nuclear chain reaction, leading to applications in nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors. Plutonium-238 is a heat source in radioisotope thermoelectric generators, which are used to power some spacecraft.

Chemical Properties

Appearance Silvery White Solid
Atomic Number 94
Atomic Weight 244 g/mol
Block f
Boiling Point 3228 °C
CAS Number 7440-07-5
Crystal Structure Monoclinic
Density 19.816 g/cm3
Electron Configuration 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p6 5f67s2
Ionization Energy 584.7 KJ/mol
Melting Point 639.4 °C
Oxidation State 7,6,5,4,3
Period 7
Symbol Pu