The Electron configuration of Thorium is [Rn]6d27s2, remember that the Electron configuration of any element is the way the electrons are organized within its atoms, so in detail it would be represented as follows: 5f0 6d2 7s2.
With orbitals per level of: 2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 10.2.
Today we are going to study an element of our periodic table, “Thorium”, which is named after the god of thunder and lightning, Thor.
Electron configuration of Thorium
The Electron configuration of Thorium is [Rn]6d27s2. Thorium, as I have already mentioned, is a chemical element belonging to the actinide series.
If we go to our table we find it to the right of actinide and to the left of protactinium, that is to say between these two elements. Symbolically, it is represented by Th and its atomic number is 90. It is a toxic and radioactive metal that exhibits several states, so it has potential use in the nuclear industry.
Who discovered this element?
The element was discovered in 1828 by Jons Jakob Berzelius who is considered the father of modern chemistry, who is also known, along with Dalton and other chemists, who devised the modern system of chemical notation.
Later, in the last decade of the 19th century, around the mid-1890s, the Curie couple discovered that thorium gave off radioactivity.
Characteristics of thorium
- It is a rare metal that is not found in pure form in nature, but as part of other minerals such as: thorite, monazite and thorianite.
- It is a toxic element for humans.
- Thorium is a fairly rare element, so few countries have it, finding the largest reserve of this element in India.
- It can be presented in a bright silvery-white coloration.
- Once in contact with air, it oxidizes easily; It loses its luster and turns gray, then turns black.
- In the ordinary state, Thorium is in the solid state.
- It has a melting point of 1755oC.
- It has a boiling point of 4788oC.
- It has a density of 11,724 Kg/m3.
- It has electromagnetic characteristics.
- When found in a pure state, it has ductile properties.
- On the Mohs scale, it has a hardness index of 3.
- It emits white light by breaking down into small particles and being heated.
Chemical properties of thorium
- The most common oxidation states of this element are: +2, +4.
- Thorium has 90 protons and 90 electrons, anatomically. It is believed to reach stability when it reaches 141 neutrons.
- It can form binary compounds with metallic elements, except noble gases.
- It is a radioactive element, with an extremely long half-life; It lasts about 1.4×1010 years.
What are the uses and applications of thorium?
- Thorium is an element used in some industries, it can be used in the manufacture of welding electrodes, space crystals, lenses, Electron lamps and oxygen sensors. In addition, it is used as an additive in the manufacture of ceramic materials thanks to its high melting point.
- On the other hand, it is also used in the field of nuclear energy, where the possibility of generating elements such as uranium 233 has been seen, from the study with thorium.
- It can be used as a catalytic substance in the laboratory. It is also used as a stabilizing compound for vacuum tubes due to its alloy with magnesium.
This element can be obtained by two reductions:
- Reduction of thorium oxide with calcium.
- Reduction of thorium tetrachloride with an alkali metal.
Remember that this element is found in its natural state in different minerals:
Distribution of thorium reserves as established by the International Atomic Energy Agency:
- Indian 20%.
- Australia 19%.
- United States 13%.
- Turkey 15%.
- Between Brazil and Venezuela, an average of 20% of the world reserve is estimated.
There are chances that high exposure to this element can lead to cancer. A study of workers heavily exposed to radon, cigarette smoke and thorium developed cancers of the pancreas, lungs and blood. It’s still being studied, but it’s still a latent possibility.
So far today’s study my chemistry minds, I hope you learned something new. See you next time! Goodbye!