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Author: Subject: Will americium dissolve in acid?
Gui316
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[*] posted on 19-9-2011 at 13:29
Will americium dissolve in acid?


Would americium
dissolve in HCl? What about sodium hydroxide?
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AndersHoveland
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[*] posted on 19-9-2011 at 14:14


Americanium would be expected to have nearly identical chemical properties to Europium.
Europium has a similar chemical reactivity to calcium.
Europium will dissolve in HCl solution to form Eu+3, but this can be reduced to Eu+2. Eu+2 is chemically similar to Ti+3, as both can exist in aqueous solution but are reactively reducing. Eu+3 ions are typically highly colored, whereas Eu+2 is almost always colorless. An exception to this trend is the iodides.
Solutions of EuI3 are colorless, whereas EuI2 is green. Obviously the iodide is forming some sort of complex which is interacting with the ions.
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[*] posted on 19-9-2011 at 14:25


well from here it seems yes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americium#Chemical_properties
i dont think sodium hydroxide solution disolves it like it disolves aluminum
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[*] posted on 19-9-2011 at 14:26


;) There's no americium in your smoke detector. But there's americium dioxide. Less than half of a microgram. You can't actually do any reactions with that.


Americium should be soluble in HCl. It's an actinide.
Its dioxide should be, too.

OH<sup>-</sup> ions would give a hydroxide precipitate.
It's not so easy to answer this. Actinide chemistry is not something you read every day.

[Edited on 19-9-2011 by Endimion17]




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[*] posted on 20-9-2011 at 06:15


And it keeps getting richer. Looks like we may have our own embryonic version of The Radioactive Boyscout in our midst now,

Apart from that, questions like these belong in the ‘Beginners’ thread. Or do they? Since as you can find the answer in Wiki, maybe they don’t belong anywhere….

DON’T go messing with smoke detectors unless you know EXACTLY what you’re doing.




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Gui316
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[*] posted on 20-9-2011 at 11:44


Why are you guys taking about smoke detectors? The question was about americium, not about smoke detectors.
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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 20-9-2011 at 12:34


Because we know what you're trying to accomplish. ;)

[Edited on 20-9-2011 by Endimion17]




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Gui316
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[*] posted on 20-9-2011 at 15:03


I don't have any smoke detectors, and I don't plain to buy any because if my place is on fire, I don't need anything telling me that. I'll be able to detect it, since I hate the smell of burning stuff.
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[*] posted on 21-9-2011 at 04:45


Quote: Originally posted by Gui316  
I don't have any smoke detectors, and I don't plain to buy any because if my place is on fire, I don't need anything telling me that. I'll be able to detect it, since I hate the smell of burning stuff.


No smoke detector, no Americium. For us ordinary yokels it's that simple. And if you're someone with IAEA (or similar) you wouldn't hang out here! ;)




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White Yeti
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[*] posted on 21-9-2011 at 11:43


Obtaining and storing americium, even from smoke detectors, and without a licence, is illegal. Clearly you don't know what you are doing. You are also purposefully making a WATER SOLUBLE radioactive salt? How crazy are you?!!! How do you even plan on disposing that stuff? Once it gets into the biosphere, it doesn't leave.
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[*] posted on 21-9-2011 at 12:46


Quote: Originally posted by Gui316  
I don't have any smoke detectors, and I don't plain to buy any because if my place is on fire, I don't need anything telling me that. I'll be able to detect it, since I hate the smell of burning stuff.


That attitude is probably more likely to kill you than playing with americium.

You will not be able to detect it you idiot. You probably will be asleep.
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[*] posted on 21-9-2011 at 13:09


Ok, so if not from smoke detectors, would you care to share a bit more infomation? You are much more likely to receive a good answer if you tell us at least 1. What cool project are you doing that needs Am, and 2. where, if not from smoke detectors, did you get Am?

If your question is to be taken literally, i.e. you would like to know if americium metal dissolves in HCl, The answer is probably yes because other elements that may be expected to have similar properties, such as europium, uranium, plutonium are all quite reactive (they react with water and air quite readily for instance), so it is quite likely that Am is also similarly reactive. The chloride is supposed to be soluble, so it won't form a protective layer.




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[*] posted on 21-9-2011 at 13:22


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Obtaining and storing americium, even from smoke detectors, and without a licence, is illegal. Clearly you don't know what you are doing. You are also purposefully making a WATER SOLUBLE radioactive salt? How crazy are you?!!! How do you even plan on disposing that stuff? Once it gets into the biosphere, it doesn't leave.


Not sure who you are addressing here, WY.

Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  
Ok, so if not from smoke detectors, would you care to share a bit more infomation? You are much more likely to receive a good answer if you tell us at least 1. What cool project are you doing that needs Am, and 2. where, if not from smoke detectors, did you get Am?

If your question is to be taken literally, i.e. you would like to know if americium metal dissolves in HCl, The answer is probably yes because other elements that may be expected to have similar properties, such as europium, uranium, plutonium are all quite reactive (they react with water and air quite readily for instance), so it is quite likely that Am is also similarly reactive. The chloride is supposed to be soluble, so it won't form a protective layer.


There's tonnes of information on Am chemistry if you just look for it. I read that there's some fissile isotopes, so an Am bomb would be possible in theory.


[Edited on 21-9-2011 by blogfast25]




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[*] posted on 21-9-2011 at 13:41


As there's ~0.3 micrograms of the dioxide per detector, any experiment without a suitable Geiger counter would be useless.
The density of the dioxide is around 3 g/cm<sup>3</sup> (info in this informative PDF about some of the stuff they did at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, it even says the oxalate is "dusty rose" colored), which means the volume of the sample is 0.001 cubic milimeters. That's a cube with each size of 0.1 mm. That's 100 microns. About the length of a paramecium.

That's unsuitable for any experiments because such solutions, even if the stuff is dissolved in one drop of HCl, would be practically colorless. I suppose Gui316 doesn't have platinum discs, furnaces and automatic pipettes with microliter abilities, which are usually used for such experiments (but even then, special counters are used).

This is hardcore microchemistry that isn't interesting if you don't have the equipment to detect the stuff.

0.3 micrograms in solution (only one part of 0.3 is actual americium) taken orally would probably cause nothing, at least not in 10 years or so.


Quote:

If consumed, americium is excreted within a few days and only 0.05% is absorbed in the blood. From there, roughly 45% of it goes to the liver and 45% to the bones, and the remaining 10% is excreted. The uptake to the liver depends on the individual and increases with age. In the bones, americium is first deposited over cortical and trabecular surfaces and slowly redistributes over the bone with time. The biological half-life of 241Am is 50 years in the bones and 20 years in the liver, whereas in the gonads (testicles and ovaries) it remains permanently; in all these organs, americium promotes formation of cancer cells as a result of its radioactivity.


Now you do the rest of the math.

Of course, I don't expect he's going to drink it, but I'd expect few nanograms would find their way on the skin, etc.
Atoms are tiny, and there are lots of them. If they're dangerous and their biological half-life is long, it's enough to pose a thread.
Yes, it's a very small threat for 1 detector and lots of precautions, but I'd stay away from it.

[Edited on 21-9-2011 by Endimion17]




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DDTea
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[*] posted on 22-9-2011 at 19:09


Hardcore microchemistry? Sounds like this book may be useful:

A Manual of Microchemical Analysis

Broaden your horizons with a common laboratory microscope. Get it as cheaply as possible. Maybe even buy two, because optics don't hold up well to H2SO4 or HF.

[Edited on 9-23-11 by DDTea]




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[*] posted on 23-9-2011 at 01:39


Talk about jumping down a guys throat, all he did was ask about the reactions of an element, he made no suggestion of any experimental work he was considering, for all we know the topic came up at a dinner party and he thought he'd follow up at the next gathering with some sensible information.
Suddenly he is accused of all manner of things, then he makes a silly comment, probably feeling rather intimidated by all the baseless drivel, the joke backfires, people actually believe his claim of ESP regarding fires.
Stereotyping is natural, but very unfair, I have done it myself nominating him as male (ha I did it again). We should Try to be vigilant against it, it's the way thus world will improve.

Edit I have nothing to contribute regarding americium, sorry about that, except that it's funny that the only country with an element named after em is American, is it named after the USA or after the Americas?

[Edited on 23-9-2011 by Panache]




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[*] posted on 23-9-2011 at 05:10


Quote: Originally posted by Panache  
Edit I have nothing to contribute regarding americium, sorry about that, except that it's funny that the only country with an element named after em is American, is it named after the USA or after the Americas?

[Edited on 23-9-2011 by Panache]


Americium is tongue in cheek: it's no coincidence it's right below Europium.

Anyone talking about Am on a hobby science forum is talking smoke detectors. Anyone asking about Am being soluble in acids should google it. Simples.




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[*] posted on 23-9-2011 at 06:37


Quote: Originally posted by Panache  

Edit I have nothing to contribute regarding americium, sorry about that, except that it's funny that the only country with an element named after em is American, is it named after the USA or after the Americas?

[Edited on 23-9-2011 by Panache]


That's right up there with "The French have no word for entrepreneur"
Francium,
Gallium
Germanium

Arguably Ruthenium, Copper,
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[*] posted on 23-9-2011 at 06:49


Pollonium was named after Poland.

There are others that are named after cities. Lutetium was named after Paris.

Yttrium, ytterbium, terbium and erbium were named after the city of Ytterby.

[Edited on 23-9-2011 by Endimion17]




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[*] posted on 23-9-2011 at 07:23


Hafnium. There's a few more besides the ones mentioned (I think). But Ytterby must be the 'luckiest' place in that respect...

Of course it would be more logical if we all adopted the proposed new IUPAC nomenclature by 'naming' elements after their atomic number: in that scheme element 111 becomes 'unununium', or UUU. Planet of the apes, anyone? Compounds become even funnier: a (hypothetical) compound between 111 and 11 would be UUUUU! :P




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[*] posted on 23-9-2011 at 14:50


Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland  
Americanium would be expected to have nearly identical chemical properties to Europium.
Europium has a similar chemical reactivity to calcium.
Europium will dissolve in HCl solution to form Eu+3, but this can be reduced to Eu+2. Eu+2 is chemically similar to Ti+3, as both can exist in aqueous solution but are reactively reducing. Eu+3 ions are typically highly colored, whereas Eu+2 is almost always colorless. An exception to this trend is the iodides.
Solutions of EuI3 are colorless, whereas EuI2 is green. Obviously the iodide is forming some sort of complex which is interacting with the ions.


Just for the record, Am and Eu (and Am and Pu, for that matter) have remarkably divergent chemical properties (cf. Polinski et. al. in a recent Angew. Chem. article, summarized here. )

Also, if you're really determined to get Am from a smoke detector, converting the dioxide to the trichloride by HCl (or the nitrate with HNO3) followed by extraction into an organic phase with trialkylphosphates is a pretty reliable method. So reliable in fact, it was used during the Manhattan Project.

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[*] posted on 24-9-2011 at 04:09


Quote: Originally posted by thaflyemcee  


Also, if you're really determined to get Am from a smoke detector, converting the dioxide to the trichloride by HCl (or the nitrate with HNO3) followed by extraction into an organic phase with trialkylphosphates is a pretty reliable method. So reliable in fact, it was used during the Manhattan Project.



The problem though is what's been pointed out above by Endimion: the microscale makes manipulation very difficult, unless you're equipped for it. Also, calcined (assuming it is) Am oxide may not be very responsive to HCl...




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[*] posted on 24-9-2011 at 10:03


A couple of points,
The extraction into phosphate ester is probably how they originally extracted the Americium in your smoke detector in the first place.
Barium sulphate is generally thought of as insoluble, but if you have 0.3µg of it, it will dissolve in rather less than a test-tube full of water (solubility is something like 2µg/ml IIRC).
At this sort of level, "insoluble" needs careful definition.
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[*] posted on 24-9-2011 at 10:56


We used hot 8M nitric acid to remove trace Am from surfaces (not smoke detectors--this was legit environmental analysis).

It will only stay in solution if the acid concentration is kept high (>6M HCl or about 8M HNO3). Otherwise it will run around and stick to the nearest particles or surfaces.
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[*] posted on 24-9-2011 at 11:00


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  


At this sort of level, "insoluble" needs careful definition.


True. With rare earths and actinides in trace concentrations, it's very difficult to tell whether one of these suckers is really dissolved, or adhering to colloids. We found adsorption to colloids down to 30 nm, which accounted for nearly all the Pu-IV, Am-III, or Y-III in natural or HPLC-grade water.
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