Symbol Cf
Atomic Number 98
Atomic Mass 251 g.mol -1
Discovered by Stanley Thompson, Kenneth Street, Jr., Albert Ghiorso, and Glenn Seaborg in 1950

Chemical Properties of Californium

Group Actinides Melting point 900°C, 1652°F, 1173 K
Period 7 Boiling point Unknown
Block f Density (g cm−3) 15.1
Atomic number 98 Relative atomic mass [251]
State at 20°C Solid Key isotopes 249Cf, 252Cf
Electron configuration [Rn]5f17s2 CAS number 7440-71-3
ChemSpider ID 22433 ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database.

What is Californium?

  • Californium (Cf) is a radio metallic chemical element with atomic number 98 and is a member of actinide group of periodic table, discovered by G.T Seaborg in the year 1950.
  • It is named after the University and the state of California.

Uses of Californium

  • Californium is a very good source of neutrons, and this property makes it useful in a nuclear power plant as a neutron startup source.
  • It is also useful in detecting trace elements in samples by using neutron activation analysis.
  • Some detections like fuel rods, neutron radiography, and portable metal detectors will make use of californium’s neutron penetration property.
  • It is employed to treat many brain and cervical cancers.

Properties of Californium

  • The element is available in two forms under normal pressure and a third form is at high pressure.
  • It tarnishes gradually when exposed to air and readily attacked by steam, acids. Californium (III) is the only stable ion in aqueous solutions and cannot be oxidized or reduced.
  • There are many compounds of it that exhibit different kinds of properties, for example, Californium – 252 is a very strong emitter of neutrons.
  • It is the heaviest actinide that shows covalent properties similar to californium borate.
  • The element is not available naturally on Earth. It can be found in the vicinity of nuclear facilities and research laboratories as it is used in medical diagnosis and mineral prospecting.

Certain Health effects of Californium

  • Biological use of the element is not yet found. As a few compounds of it are extremely radioactive, it is considered to be hazardous to health.
  • The greatest threat of radioactivity to life is that it damages genetic makeup, genetic pool of living beings which is cumulative over generations.

Practise This Question

Assertion (A): Classical smog occurs in cold humid climate and it is acidic as well as reducing in nature.
Reason (R): It is a mixture of smoke, fog and sulphur dioxide.