Uranium • Actinide Rare Earth
Date of discovery: 1789
Name origin: planet Uranus
Discoverer: Martin Klaproth
Obtained from: many rocks
Melting point: 1405.3 K
Boiling point: 4200 K
Molar volume: 12.49 × 10-6 m3/mol
Shell structure: 2,8,18,32,21,9,2
Electron configuration: [Rn]7s25f26d1
Oxidation state: 5
Crystal structure: orthorhombic
Uranium is a very dense and heavy metal. Because of these and other properties, uranium is used in many military applications: as shielding to protect tanks, as elements in bullets and missiles, as a power source for nuclear propelled navy ships and submarines, and also as nuclear weapons. The main non-military use is a fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. Uranium was named after the planet Uranus, which had been discovered eight years before the element’s discovery. Uranium is naturally occurring and is found in low levels in nearly all rock, soil, and water. Uranium has a very long radioactive half-life, so the total amount of it on Earth changes very little.
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