What has 90 protons?

“What has 90 protons?” is a question that stirs curiosity in the realms of science and chemistry. The answer lies within the element thorium, which boasts an atomic number of 90. This heavy, radioactive metal serves as a fascinating subject of study for scientists and researchers around the world.

With its 90 protons, thorium occupies a unique position in the periodic table, showcasing its distinctive properties and potential applications. Its presence in nuclear reactors and energy production further emphasizes its significance in various technological advancements. Join me as we delve deeper into the realm of thorium and unravel the mysteries behind this element with 90 protons.

When it comes to the world of atoms and elements, we often hear about protons as one of the fundamental building blocks. Protons are subatomic particles that carry a positive charge and are found within the nucleus of an atom. Each element has a unique number of protons, which we call the atomic number. So, what element has 90 protons? Let’s explore this question in detail.

Actinium: A Rare Earth Element

If we’re talking about an element with 90 protons, then we’re referring to Actinium on the periodic table. Actinium is a rare earth element symbolized by the symbol Ac.

Properties of Actinium

Actinium is a radioactive metal and is a solid at room temperature. It belongs to the group of elements known as the actinides, which are found in the bottom row of the periodic table. Actinium is silvery-white in color and has a high luster when freshly prepared.

One of the fascinating properties of actinium is its radioactivity. It undergoes radioactive decay, emitting alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. Due to its high level of radioactivity, actinium is used in various medical and scientific applications, including cancer treatment and research.

Actinium also possesses a relatively high density and melting point, making it useful in certain industries. However, due to its rarity and high radioactivity, actinium has limited practical applications outside of scientific research.

Discovery of Actinium

Actinium was first discovered by the French chemist AndrĂ©-Louis Debierne in 1899. However, it was mistakenly identified as a new element and named emanium. It wasn’t until 1902 when actinium was independently discovered by Friedrich Oskar Giesel in Germany, who correctly recognized it as a distinct element and named it actinium, derived from the Greek word “aktinos” meaning “ray.”

Actinium in the Environment

In its natural state, actinium is incredibly rare and is not found abundantly in the Earth’s crust. It is primarily produced through the radioactive decay of other elements, such as uranium and thorium, which are more prevalent in the environment.

Due to its intense radioactivity and short half-life, actinium undergoes rapid decay, resulting in a limited presence in the environment. As a result, actinium is mainly obtained through artificial means and produced in small quantities for research purposes.

Applications of Actinium

Despite its rarity, actinium has found several important applications, particularly in the fields of medicine and scientific research. Here are some notable applications:

1. Cancer Treatment

Actinium is used in the field of radiation therapy for certain types of cancers. The intense radiation emitted by actinium can target and destroy cancer cells, helping to treat and manage the disease. Research is ongoing to explore how actinium can be further utilized in cancer treatment and improve its efficacy.

2. Research and Analysis

Actinium is widely used in scientific research and analysis due to its unique properties. It serves as a source of high-energy alpha particles and gamma radiation, which are valuable in a range of experimental studies and investigations. Actinium is particularly useful in nuclear physics, where it helps researchers gain a deeper understanding of the structure and properties of atomic nuclei.

3. Radiography

In industrial applications, actinium is utilized for radiography purposes. The high-energy radiation emitted by actinium is employed to inspect welds, detect cracks, and perform quality control tests in various industries, including aerospace and manufacturing.

Actinium, with its atomic number of 90, is the element that has 90 protons. This rare earth element possesses unique properties and finds important applications in the fields of medicine, scientific research, and industrial processes. Despite its limited occurrence in nature, actinium serves as a valuable tool in advancing our knowledge in various domains and has the potential to contribute significantly to the betterment of society.

An atom with 90 protons belongs to the chemical element thorium on the periodic table.

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