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Plutonium (Pu): Fun Facts and Information About the Element

What is the symbol? Pu
What is the atomic number? 94
What is the atomic weight? 244
What is the melting point in Celsius? 640
What is the boiling point in Celsius? 3235
What is the density (g/cm3)? 19.84
What year was it discovered? 1940
Who discovered the element? “Glenn T. Seaborg, Joseph W. Kennedy, Edward M. McMillan, Arthur C. Wohl”
What group is the element in? 102
What is the electron configuration? [Rn] 5f6 7s2
What is the ionization energy? 6.0262
What element category is it in? Actinoids

Where is Plutonium Found?

Plutonium exists in trace quantities in naturally occurring uranium ores. It is formed in much the same manner as neptunium: by irradiation of natural uranium with the neutrons which are present.

What is Plutonium Used For?

Plutonium has assumed the position of dominant importance among the trasuranium elements because of its successful use as an explosive ingredient in nuclear weapons and the place which it holds as a key material in the development of industrial use of nuclear power. The various nuclear applications of plutonium are well known: 238Pu has been used in the Apollo lunar missions to power seismic and other equipment on the lunar surface. As with neptunium and uranium, plutonium metal can be prepared by reduction of the trifluoride with alkaline-earth metals.