|Group||Actinides||Melting point||1135°C, 2075°F, 1408 K|
|Period||7||Boiling point||4131°C, 7468°F, 4404 K|
|Block||f||Density (g cm−3)||19.1|
|Atomic number||92||Relative atomic mass||238.029|
|State at 20°C||Solid||Key isotopes||234U, 235U, 238U|
|Electron configuration||[Rn] 5f36d17s2||CAS number||7440-61-1|
|ChemSpider ID||22425||ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database|
- Uranium is a weakly radioactive element with an atomic number 92 and symbol U in the periodic table.
- Uranium is one of the heavy metals that can be utilized as a rich source of concentrated energy. The element exists in many rocks in the concentration of 2 to 4 ppm(parts per million) and common in Earth’s crust as tungsten and tin. It also exists in seawater and can be retrieved from the oceans.
- Uranium was formed over 6.6 billion years ago. Though it is not common in the solar system, its slow radioactive decay provides a major source of heat within the Earth, responsible for continental and convection drift.
- Uranium’s high density means it also has applications in the counterweights of aircraft control surfaces and radiation shielding.
- It is one of the heaviest among all the naturally occurring elements when arranged based on the increasing mass of their nuclei on a scale. The element is 18.7 times denser than water.
- Uranium exists in various slightly different forms known as ‘isotopes.’ These isotopes are distinct in the number of uncharged particles in the nucleus.
- Natural uranium was found as a mixture of two isotopes. U-238 accounts for 99.3% and U-235 around 0.7%.
- Pure uranium is silver in color and readily oxidizes in air.
- It is also used to color glass that glows greenish-yellow in black light, not due to radioactivity because the glass itself is a bit radioactive. The fluorescence is because of the UV light that excites the uranyl compound in the glass and makes it let off photons when it settles down.
- The isotope U-235 is essential since it can be split readily and yield a lot of energy under certain conditions. Therefore it is known as ‘fissile’ and use the expression ‘nuclear fission.’
- Uranium fission is made efficient by nuclear engineers. To increase the proportion of U-235, the engineers either gasify the element to differentiate the isotopes. According to studies, most enriched uranium in nuclear power plants is made up of 3-5% of U-235.
- Uranium was named after the planet Uranus.