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Californium Facts

Chemical & Physical Properties of Californium

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This is a button of pure californium, about 1 mm in diameter.

Californium is a man-made radioactive metal. This is a button of pure californium, about 1 mm in diameter.

Richard G. Haire, US DOE Californium is a radioactive rare earth element.

Californium is a radioactive rare earth element. It may be used as a neutron source.

Richard G. Haire, US DOE This is the electron configuration of a californium atom.

This is the electron configuration of a californium atom.

Periodic Table of the Elements

 

Californium

Atomic Number: 98

Symbol: Cf

Atomic Weight: 251.0796

Discovery: G.T. Seaborg, S.G. Tompson, A. Ghiorso, K. Street Jr. 1950 (United States)

Electron Configuration: [Rn] 7s2 5f10

Word Origin: State and University of California

Properties: Californium metal has not been produced. Californium (III) is the only ion stable in aqueous solutions. Attempts to reduce or oxidize californium (III) have been unsuccessful. Californium-252 is a very strong neutron emitter.

Uses: Californium is an efficient neutron source. It is used in neutron moisture gauges and as a portable neutron source for metal detection.

Isotopes: The isotope Cf-249 results from the beta decay of Bk-249. Heavier isotopes of californium are produced by intense neutron irradiation by the reactions. Cf-249, Cf-250, Cf-251, and Cf-252 have been isolated.

Sources: Californium was first produced in 1950 by bombarding Cm-242 with 35 MeV helium ions.

Element Classification: Radioactive Rare Earth (Actinide)

Density (g/cc): 15.1

Melting Point (K): 900

Atomic Radius (pm): 295

Pauling Negativity Number: 1.3

First Ionizing Energy (kJ/mol): (610)

Oxidation States: 4, 3

References: Los Alamos National Laboratory (2001), Crescent Chemical Company (2001), Lange's Handbook of Chemistry (1952), CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics (18th Ed.)

 

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