The electron configuration of polonium is [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6p4. Polonium is a chemical element with atomic number 84; found in our periodic table with the symbol Po. It is an element that has many singularities around its discovery and other aspects, without further ado let’s begin. Today we will study an element that I am sure will interest you because of the curiosities about it and the way in which the human being has consumed it over time.
I like the word I’m going to say next; It is a rare metalloid, that is, an element with properties intermediate between metals and nonmetals, so they are considered semiconductors of heat and electricity. It is chemically similar to tellurium and bismuth and, in addition to that, it can be found in uranium ores.
Electron configuration of polonium
Its electron configuration is: [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6p4, in detail it looks like this:
1s2 2s2 2s6 3s2 3s6 3d10 4s2 4s6 4d10 5s2 5s6 4f14 5d10 6s2 6s4
History and discovery of polonium
Polonium is an element discovered by Marie Salomea Sklodowska Curie, better known as Marie Curie, a pioneering scientist in the field of radioactivity and, if memory serves, the first to receive two Nobel Prizes (in different specialties ), one in physics and the other one in chemistry.
After its discovery, in 1898, by scientists Marie and Pierre Curie, the element was given the name Radium F, however, it was changed to Polonium in honor of its homeland. But why?
You could say that the name of the element stems from political issues, I mean, when Curie gave the name polonium to the element, the country Poland was not an independent country but was under the rule of the Russia, Australia and Prussia giving it this name bring greater notoriety to their country, thus drawing attention to the absence of a sovereign and independent country; This is what Marie Curie expected.
Characteristics of Polonium
- This was the first element discovered by the Curie couple.
- Polonium is a fairly rare natural element:
- It represents 2×10% by weight of the earth’s crust.
- The substances they contain are slightly soluble in water, but quite easily dissolved in acids.
- 100 milligrams per ton of polonium are found in uranium ores.
- It is an element chemically related to bismuth and tellurium.
- Its abundance is lower than that of radium, i.e. 0.2 that of said element.
- It is highly radioactive and highly toxic.
- Polonium has been found in different forms: in uranium ores, as a pollutant, and in tobacco smoke.
- It was first extracted by the Curie couple from Pitchblende or Uranite in 1898 when they were studying it.
- In our periodic table, it is found in group 16, period 6 and block p.
- It has an atomic mass of 209.9824 u, which is rounded up to 2010 u.
- It is a volatile metal.
- Melting point: 527K (2540C).
- Boiling point: 1235K (9620C).
- It has a silver color.
- It is used in the heat sources of space probes or artificial satellites.
- It represents a source of neutrons when mixed with beryllium.
- Heat sources of thermodynamic batteries.
- It is used in brushes to remove dust from photographic films.
What are the effects of this element on health?
The effects exhibited by ingesting or inhaling this element are not immediately noticeable; They begin to be noticed after the third day.
The first symptoms they present are: gastrointestinal discomfort and hair loss. When exposure is low, only gastrointestinal discomfort occurs. Otherwise, the liver and kidneys begin to fail; If the person dies, it will be due to the failure of different organs, including paralysis of metabolism and bone marrow.
Cigarette or tobacco smoke contains elements such as carbon monoxide, lead, benzene and polonium, which is why it is considered harmful to health. A slow and painful death occurs from polonium 2010.
Warning: Polonium is a highly toxic element, with a lethal dose of 10 ng by inhalation and 50 ng if ingested, it is therefore recommended to be careful in handling it. So far today’s study my chemistry minds, I hope you learned something new. Until next time, Bye!