Uranium 241

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Overview:

Recently, physicists in Japan while studying the atoms of heavy elements discovered a previously unknown isotope of uranium uranium-241.

About Uranium 241:

  • It has an atomic number of 92 and a mass number of 241.
  • The researchers also calculated that uranium-241 likely has a half-life of just 40 minutes.

How was uranium-241 found?

  • The researchers accelerated uranium-238 nuclei into plutonium-198 nuclei at the KEK Isotope Separation System (KISS).
  • In a process called multinucleon transfer, the two isotopes exchange protons and neutrons. The resulting nuclear fragments contained different isotopes.

Key facts about the Uranium

  • It was discovered in 1789 by Martin Klaproth, a German chemist.
  • It is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the periodic table, with atomic number 92.
  • It has the highest atomic weight of all naturally occurring elements.
  • It occurs naturally in low concentrations in soil, rock and water, and is commercially extracted from uranium-bearing minerals such as uraninite.
  • Uranium ore can be mined from open pits or underground excavations.
  • The ore can then be crushed and treated at a mill to separate the valuable uranium from the ore.
  • Uranium may also be dissolved directly from the ore deposits in the ground (in-situ leaching) and pumped to the surface.

 


Q1) What is an isotope?

An isotope is a variant of an element that has the same number of protons in its atomic nucleus but a different number of neutrons.

Source: In pursuit of a ‘magic number’, physicists discover new uranium isotope