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The number of electrons in an electrically neutral atom is 89. Besides the total number of protons in its nucleus, the atomic number of actinium is also 89.
The atomic mass of actinium is 227 grams/mol. It is located in period 7 of the periodic table. It is an actinide metal element, with 89 protons and 138 neutrons in its nucleus.
This element was first isolated in 1899 by French chemist Andre-Louis Debierne in pitchblende residues left after Pierre and Marie Curie had extracted radium. It was later discovered independently by Friedrich Oskar Giesel in 1902.
Unlike other radioactive elements, actinium is not produced naturally on earth. It occurs only in trace amounts in uranium ore.
It is a very strong radioactive metal. It glows pale blue in the dark and is about 150 times more radioactive than radium.
Actinium is a member of the group of chemical elements called the actinide series, which resembles the rare-earth lanthanoid elements in its chemistry. It has a half-life of over 185 days, and its daughter isotopes decay by emitting alpha particles.
In solution, actinium ions are colourless. They exhibit an oxidation state of +3 and behave closely to the lanthanoid elements.
The main uses of actinium are a source of neutrons and as a radiation therapy agent. It is an extremely rare substance, largely produced in the laboratory. It has a high price and is not commercially available. The element is only found in trace amounts in uranium ores and is usually obtained by treating radium with neutrons in a reactor.