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|Name, symbol||Americium, Am|
|Americium in the periodic table|
|Standard atomic weight (Ar)||243|
|Group, block||n/a; f-block|
|Electron configuration||[Rn] 5f7 7s2|
|2, 8, 18, 32, 25, 8, 2|
|Melting point||1449 K (1176 °C, 2149 °F)|
|Density near r.t.||12 g/cm3|
|Heat of fusion||14.39 kJ/mol|
|Molar heat capacity||62.7 J/(mol·K)|
|Oxidation states||8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 (an amphoteric oxide)|
|Electronegativity||Pauling scale: 1.3|
|energies||1st: 578 kJ/mol|
|Atomic radius||empirical: 173 pm|
|Covalent radius||180±6 pm|
|Crystal structure||Double hexagonal close-packed (dhcp)|
|Thermal conductivity||10 W/(m·K)|
|Electrical resistivity||0.69 Ω·m|
|CAS Registry Number||7440-35-9|
|Naming||After the Americas|
|Discovery||Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, Leon O. Morgan, Albert Ghiorso (1944)|
Americium is a radioactive chemical element, a transuranic member of the actinide series, with symbol Am and atomic number 95. The most important isotope of this element is Americium-241 (241Am).
Like all actinides, americium reacts with air and halogens at standard conditions.
Americium is a silvery-gray metal, with a density of 12 g/cm3 at room temperature. It melts at 1176 °C and boils at 2607 °C.
Americium is readily found in smoke detectors, in the form of americium dioxide aggregate deposited on a small Al button, which is the ionization source for the smoke detector. Each radioactive button contains around 0.26 micrograms of 241Am. To obtain a significant amount of Am, you will need dozens (minimum) of Am buttons. However, acquiring lots of smoke detectors may draw the attention of the authorities.
Isolation of this element is difficult to do given the low concentration of Am in smoke detectors and its high reactivity.
- Make your own personalized smoke detector
- Neutron source
- Make a spectrometer
Americium, like all actinides, is radioactive and very toxic, but the amounts encountered in smoke detector buttons are too small to pose any appreciable hazard.
Americium should be kept in thick vials, lead is also good for shielding.
Americium should be taken to centers that take care of used smoke detectors.