|Atomic Mass||232.038 g.mol −1|
|Discovered by||Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1829|
Table of Contents
- What is Thorium?
- Chemical Properties of Thorium
- Physical Properties of Thorium
- Application of Thorium
- Health effects of Thorium
What is Thorium?
- Thorium is a chemical element with atomic number 90 and is represented by the symbol ‘Th’ in the periodic table.
- In its pure form, it is a silvery white metal which is stable in air and remains lustrous for several months. When it reacts with oxides it slowly transforms into a grey colour.
- Thorium is a weak radioactive metal as its isotopes are highly unstable. It is estimated that the element This is more abundant than Uranium in the Earth’s crust. It is found in small amounts in most rocks and soils.
- Thorium is named after Thor, The Scandinavian God of war. It was discovered by a Swedish Scientist named Jons Jacob Berzelius in the year 1828.
Chemical Properties of Thorium
|Group||12||Melting point||1750°C, 3182°F, 2023 K|
|Period||7||Boiling point||4785°C, 8645°F, 5058 K|
|Block||f||Density (g cm−3)||11.7|
|Atomic number||90||Relative atomic mass||232.038|
|State at 20°C||Solid||Key isotopes||230Th, 232Th|
|Electron configuration||[Rn] 6d27s2||CAS number||7440-29-1|
|ChemSpider ID||22399||ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database|
Physical properties of Thorium
- The properties of thorium depend highly on the number of impurities present in the sample. The major impurity is commonly thorium dioxide. The element is an electropositive metal and is highly reactive. It burns magnificently with a white light when heated in the air. It has total 90 electrons and 4 electrons in the valence shell.
- At constant pressure and temperature, Thorium is slowly attacked by water but does not readily dissolve in acids.
Applications of Thorium
- As thorium is radioactive, its uses mainly lie in nuclear fuel applications.
- It is helpful in radiometric dating.
- Used as an alloying element in magnesium, to coat tungsten wire in electrical equipment.
- Used in manufacturing lenses for cameras and scientific instruments.
- Used in nuclear reactors as it does not generate plutonium.
Health effects of Thorium
- As it is found almost everywhere on the earth, people will always be exposed to small amounts of thorium through the air, food, and water. But inhaling or taking small amounts of the element will not have harmful effects but continuous exposure to it may cause lung cancer. Sometimes it may even cause pancreas diseases.