Polonium is a chemical element with the symbol Po and atomic number 84. It was discovered by Marie Sklodowska Curie and Pierre Curie in 1898. Rare and highly radioactive metal with no stable isotopes, It is chemically similar to selenium and tellurium, though its metallic character resembles that of its horizontal neighbors in the periodic table: thallium, lead, and bismuth.
|Melting point||254 °C (489 °F)|
|Boiling point||962 °C (1,764 °F)|
Today, It is usually produced in milligram quantities by the neutron irradiation of bismuth. Due to its intense radioactivity, which results in the radiolysis of chemical bonds and radioactive self-heating, its chemistry has mostly been investigated on the trace scale only.
It is used to eliminate static electricity produced during processes such as rolling paper, wire, and sheet metal. Due to alpha emission, 1 gram of Po can acquire a temperature of 500°C. This property of Polonium makes it a useful source of heat for space equipment. It is used as a source of neutrons by mixing it or alloying it with beryllium.
Characteristics of Polonium
- It is a rare and highly radioactive element.
- Po has no stable isotope.
- It’s a silvery-grey, radioactive semi-metal found in uranium ores.
- The chemistry of polonium is similar to that of tellurium, although it also shows some similarities to its neighbor bismuth due to its metallic character.