10 Interesting Facts about Uranium

These following facts about uranium might probably give you much information about what uranium is.  People know that uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, wits symbol U and atomic number 92. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons. Uranium is weakly radioactive because all its isotopes are unstable. The most common isotopes of uranium are uranium-238 and uranium-235. Uranium has also the second highest atomic weight of the primordially occurring elements, lighter only than plutonium. To get to know more about this chemical element, here are some other facts about uranium you might be interested in.

Facts about Uranium 1: Usage

Uranium is used as a colorant in uranium glass, producing orange-red to lemon yellow hues. It was also used for tinting and shading in early photography. The 1789 discovery of uranium of uranium in the mineral pitchblende is credited to Martin Heinrich Klaproth, who named the new element after the planet Uranus.

Facts about Uranium 2: Nuclear Power Industry

Research by Enrico Fermi and others starting in 1934 led to its use as a fuel in the nuclear power industry and in “Little Boy”, the first nuclear weapon used in war. An ensuing arms race during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union produced tens of thousands of nuclear weapons that used uranium metal and uranium-derived plutonium-239.

Facts about Uranium - Uranium

Facts about Uranium – Uranium

Facts about Uranium 3: Characteristic

When refined, uranium is a silvery white, weakly radioactive metal, which is harder than most elements. It is malleable, ductile, slightly paramagnetic, strongly electropositive and is a poor electrical conductor. Uranium metal has very high density, bein approximately 70% denser than lead, but slightly less dense than gold.

Facts about Uranium 4: Reaction

Uranium metal reacts with almost all nonmetallic elements and their compounds, with reactivity increasing with temperature. Hydrochloric and nitric acids dissolve uranium, but non-oxidizing acids other than hydrochloric acid attack the element very slowly.When finely divided, it can react with cold water; in air, uranium metal becomes coated with a dark layer of uranium oxide.

Facts about Uranium - Military Application

Facts about Uranium – Military Application

Facts about Uranium 5: Military Application

The major application of uranium in the military sector is in high-density penetrators. This ammunition consists of depleted uranium (DU) alloyed with 1–2% other elements. At high impact speed, the density, hardness, and pyrophoricity of the projectile enable destruction of heavily armored targets.

Facts about Uranium 6: Civilian Application

The main use of uranium in the civilian sector is to fuel nuclear power plants. One kilogram of uranium-235 can theoretically produce about 20 terajoules of energy, assuming complete fission; as much energy as 1500 tonnes of coal. Commercial nuclear power plants use fuel that is typically enriched to around 3% uranium-235.

Facts about Uranium - Nuclear power plants

Facts about Uranium – Nuclear power plants

Facts about Uranium 7: Discovery

The discovery of the element is credited to the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth. While he was working in his experimental laboratory in Berlin in 1789, Klaproth was able to precipitate a yellow compound by dissolving pitchblende in nitric acid and neutralizing the solution with sodium hydroxide.

Facts about Uranium 8: Nuclear Weapony

Two major types of atomic bombs were developed by the United States during World War II: a uranium-based device whose fissile material was highly enriched uranium, and a plutonium-based device whose plutonium was derived from uranium-238. The uranium-based Little Boy device became the first nuclear weapon used in war when it was detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

Facts about Uranium - Uranium glass

Facts about Uranium – Uranium glass

Facts about Uranium 9: Biotic and Abiotic

Uranium is a naturally occurring element that can be found in low levels within all rock, soil, and water. Uranium is the 51st element in order of abundance in the Earth’s crust. Uranium is also the highest-numbered element to be found naturally in significant quantities on Earth and is almost always found combined with other elements

Facts about Uranium 10: Production and Mining

The worldwide production of uranium in 2010 amounted to 53,663 tonnes, of which 17,803 t (33.2%) was mined in Kazakhstan. Other important uranium mining countries are Canada (9,783 t), Australia (5,900 t), Namibia (4,496 t), Niger (4,198 t) and Russia (3,562 t).

Facts about Uranium - Vacuum capacitor with uranium glass

Facts about Uranium – Vacuum capacitor with uranium glass

Hope you would find those uranium facts really interesting and useful for your additional reading.

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