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Thorium

crystal structureThorium • Actinide Rare Earth

Symbol: Th
Date of Discovery: 1828
Name Origin: Scandinavian Thor
Appearance: silvery
Discoverer: Jons Berzelius
Obtained From: monazite, thorite

Melting Point: 2023 K
Boiling Point: 5063 K
Density[kg/m3]: 11724
Molar Volume: 19.80 × 10-6 m3/mol
Protons/Electrons: 90
Neutrons: 142
Shell Structure: 2,8,18,32,18,10,2
Electron Configuration: [Rn]6d27s2
Oxidation State: 4
Crystal Structure: cubic face centered

Named after Thor, a Scandinavian god of war, thorium is about three times more abundant than uranium. It is found in small amounts in rocks and soils, with abundant supplies in several countries. Monazite, a rare-earth and thorium-phosphate mineral containing twelve percent thorium oxide, is the primary source of the world’s thorium. Similar to uranium, thorium can be used as a fuel in a nuclear reactor and is a key factor in the sustainability of nuclear energy. Much of the earth’s heat is attributed to the decay of both uranium and thorium. When exposed to air, the element retains a silverish white color for about three months then slowly tarnishes to a grey then black color. The primary use of thorium is for strong alloys and ultraviolet photoelectric cells.

 



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