Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade September 2001

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Downloaded 12 times

URANIUM What is Uranium and how is it used? This question is the most common for the normal man, not knowing that Uranium has the credibility to be used as a household term. Throughout the world, Uranium is used as a drastic means to our society, and surely without it, life would be more difficult.

Uranium, named after the planet Uranus, was discovered in 1789 in the mineral pitchblende. It can also be found in most rocks, seawater, the earth's crust, and oceans. In fact, there is as much Uranium in the earth's crust as there is tin in the earth's crust. Uranium is a member of the actinide series, which are radioactive metallic elements found in group IIIb of the periodic table, along with other elements such as thorium, protactinium, uranium, neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium, californium, einsteinium, fermium, mendelevium, nobelium, and lawrencium. Uranium is one of the only actinides found in the earth's crust.

Also, Uranium has three distinct forms, or three isotopes; uranium-234, uranium-235, and the most stable uranium-238.

The discovery of uranium is commonly credited to Martin H. Klaproth, in 1789, while working with pitchblende. Though, what Klaproth discovered was not pure uranium, it was an oxide. Eugene E. Peligot isolated the element in 1841, and Antione H. Becquerel discovered its radioactivity in 1896.

Before 1939, the main use for uranium was in pigments, ceramic glazes, yellow-green fluorescent glass and as a source of radium for medical purposes. It has also been added to steel to make it stronger. Though, most of the things uranium used to be used for is not anymore, due to the high toxicity of it. Now uranium is used mainly for nuclear energy.

Uranium has many uses; one is used in nuclear reactors. In a nuclear reactor the uranium fuel is...