Curium is a hard metal having an atomic number of 96 and symbol Cm. This metal is artificially produced in the nuclear reactors. It is electro-positive, radioactive, and also a chemically active substance, which is not obtained naturally. This metal possesses some magnetic properties. As the temperature increases, the resistivity of this metal also increases.
|Atomic Mass||(247) g.mol -1|
|Discovered by||G.T. Seaborg in 1944|
was first intentionally produced and identified in July 1944 by the group of Glenn T. Seaborg at the University of California, Berkeley. The discovery was kept secret and only released to the public in November 1947. Most Cm is produced by bombarding uranium or plutonium with neutrons in nuclear reactors – one tonne of spent nuclear fuel contains about 20 grams of Cm.
It is a hard, dense, silvery metal with a relatively high melting point and boiling point for an actinide. Whereas it is paramagnetic at ambient conditions, it becomes antiferromagnetic upon cooling, and other magnetic transitions are also observed for many curium compounds. It readily oxidizes, and its oxides are a dominant form of this element. It forms strongly fluorescent complexes with various organic compounds, but there is no evidence of its incorporation into bacteria and archaea. When introduced into the human body, Cm accumulates in the bones, lungs, and liver, where it promotes cancer.
Applications of Curium
- The isotopes of curium such as curium- 244 and curium 242 are used in power generation industries such as thermoelectric and thermionic converters.
- This metal is used in the X-ray spectrometer for the purpose of quantitative analysis
- In medical applications, it is used as a power source.
- One gram of Cm produces around 3 watts of thermal energy. For this reason, It is used in spacecraft applications.
- It has its wide uses in the field of research industries as it is a radioactive element.