The electron configuration of protactinium is [Rn] 5f2 6d1 7s2. It is a chemical element of our periodic table, belonging to the group of actinides. Its atomic number is 91 and it is symbolized by Pa, being in period 7 of block F.
Electron configuration of Protactinium
On this occasion we will study the rarest chemical element on earth, an element even rarer than radium, protactinium whose Electron configuration is [Rn] 5f2 6d1 7s2 .
In detail, its configuration would be: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 5s2 5p6 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p6 5f2 6d1 7s2
Its electrons per level correspond to: 2, 8, 18, 32, 20, 9.2. The name given to this element comes from a compound Greek word called “protactinium”, where “proto” translates to first or ordinary and “Actinum” refers to the element actinide” giving as a conjugation, an ascending element to the actinide.
Characteristics of protactinium
- Protactinium is silvery or grayish in color with a high density in the solid state and generally tends to react quite readily when exposed to water vapor, oxygen, and certain inorganic acids.
- It is a silver metallic element that has an intense shine.
- It belongs to the group of actinides.
- It is a radioactive solid.
- If exposed to air, its glow fades.
- Below 20oC it is found in a solid state.
- Due to its rarity, it is one of the most expensive items when mined.
- It has a melting point of 1840 degrees C.
- It has a boiling point of 4027 0C.
- Its most stable isotope is 231.
- It has a density of 15370 Kg/m3.
- A curious fact is that protactinium is lighter than uranium and in turn has greater rigidity and density than thorium.
- Protactinium shares very similar thermoelectric ductility and thermal expansion with thorium and uranium.
Atomic Properties of Protactinium
- Protactinium has electronegativity values of 1.5 on the Pauling scale.
- Its average radius is 180 Pm, remember that the Pm is the pacometer (equivalent to one billionth of a meter).
- It has a covalent radius of 200 pm.
- Its atomic radius is 163 pm.
- It has a weak base, its oxidation states are: 2, 3, 4.5.
- It has an ionization energy of 568 Kj/mol.
- It has an atomic mass of 231u.
Protactinium was first identified in 1913 by chemists Kasimir Fajans and OH Gohring. The identification of this element came about when chemists were conducting studies on the decay chain of uranium, more specifically, they were working with the isotope 238U, finding an isotope with a half-life of about 1.17 minutes ; the isotope found was 234 mPa.
The first name the element received when it was discovered was Brevium, a word from the Latin brevis, which in translation is short. Later in 1918 the name was changed to Protactinium when two groups of scientists independently discovered 231 pa; The groups were composed of: Frederick Soddy and John Cranston, and Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner.
Deposition and extraction of protactinium
- We can find natural Protactinium in the form of two isotopes, I explain this element is produced by the radioactive disintegration of thorium and uranium, it is therefore found in all the minerals of this element.
- In the Czech Republic “Jachymov” and in Congo one finds the most important layers of protactinium, with concentrations in a mineral of uranie close to a third per million.
- The 231 and 233 isotopes of protactinium are generated as a result of waste in thorium nuclear reactors.
What are the uses of this element?
To date, this element has no use outside the scientific field, due to its rarity and the high cost of its extraction. It is an element with high radioactivity and increased toxicity.
There are reports that attempts have been made to use the 231 isotope of this element to make nuclear weapons, however, it has been shown that they cannot be used because they can lead to a chain reaction and, not on the contrary, the resistance of this as we thought.
What are the health effects of protactinium?
Although they may not know it, it is common to ingest this element in certain foods, water and even ingest it through the air, as it is present in the vast majority of materials. minerals (in minimal quantity).
So what happens to the amounts of this element that we absorb from the air?
The blood absorbs in total only 0.05% of the protactinium that enters our body, the rest is normally excreted. What our blood absorbs is distributed in our body, where 40% goes to the kidneys, 2% to the kidneys and 15% stays in the liver, the rest leaves the body.
It is recommended to have a good handling of this element, more than 0.5 microgram of this element which is absorbed is very toxic and radioactive, especially when working with the isotope 231, causing serious health problems and even the death. It is advisable to handle it in a closed cabin for dangerous objects.