This essay is about the element Plutonium. It describes the history, the uses-past and future, all isotopes of this material, apperance, electron configuration, and the half life.

Essay by zachjones4Junior High, 8th gradeA, December 2003

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Plutonium is a radioactive, silvery metal that yellows when exposed to oxygen. It is represented on the Periodic Table of Elements by the symbol "Pu". Plutonium is one of the transuranium elements in the actinide series of the Periodic Table. Its atomic number is 94. Plutonium has an atomic mass of 244 and a density of 298K. Pu melts at 914 degrees Kelvin. Its valence number is 2, and it has a relative electro negativity of 1.28. Plutonium has many naturally occuring isotopes, but occurs very rarely in natural settings: 228, 229, 230, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 237a, 238, 238a, 239, 240, 240a, 241, 241a, 242, 243, 244, 245a, 246, 247. It boils at 3505 degrees Kelvin and it has a specific heat of J/gK .13. The atomic radius is A- and the electron configuration is [Rn]7s25f6. At room temperature, plutonium appears to be a silvery metal substance that tarnishes in air to give it a oxide coating with yellow tinge.

Plutonium was discovered by Glenn Seaborg and his team of scientists secretly in 1940 in Berkeley, California and made public in 1946. Plutonium was extracted from uranium ore in 1947. It was named after the planet (asteroid) Pluto. In the lunar missions such as the Apollo series, Plutonium was used as a compact energy source. Plutonium was used in the atomic bombs that were produced by the Manhattan Project. Today, this element is used in nuclear weaponry , as well as in nuclear power. In the future, Plutonium will be used in deep space exploration. Scientists plan to make small nuclear bombs to be exploded behind a shp to power it.

In recent times, Plutonium has been the subject of polotics. The hydrogen bomb, commissioned by President Harry S. Truman, used plutonium as a trigger. The plutonium...