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The Element Radium


"The Atom"

What is Radium as on the Periodic Table? Definition of the Radium Element
A rare, brilliant white, luminescent, highly radioactive metallic element found in very small amounts in uranium ores. It readily oxidizes on exposure to air, turning from almost pure white to black. It is used in cancer radiotherapy, as a neutron source for some research purposes, and as a constituent of luminescent paints. The Atomic Number of this element is 88 and the Element Symbol is Ra.

The Properties of the Radium Element
Symbol of Element : Ra
Atomic Number of Radium : 88
Atomic Mass: 226.0 amu
Melting Point: 700.0 C - 973.15 K
Boiling Point: 1737.0 C - 2010.15 K
Number of Protons/Electrons: 88
Number of Neutrons: 138
Crystal Structure: Cubic
Density @ 293 K: 5.0 g/cm3
Color : brilliant white

What is Radium? Origin / Meaning of the name Radium
The name originates from the Latin word radius meaning ray because of its massive ray-emitting power.

What is Radium? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Radium Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Radium is classified as an "Alkaline Earth Metals" which are located in Group 2 elements of the Periodic Table. An Element classified as an Alkaline Earth Metals are found in the Earths crust, but not in the elemental form as they are so reactive. Instead, they are widely distributed in rock structures. Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals.

Common properties of Alkaline Earth metals
The elements classed as "Alkaline Earth metals" have the following properties in common:

  • Shiny Solids
  • Two electrons in the outer shell
  • Can conduct heat or electricity
  • Can be formed into sheets

Facts about the History of the Discovery of discovery of Radium Element
In 1896 the French scientist Becquerel observed that the mineral pitchblende possesses certain remarkable properties. It affects photographic plates even in complete darkness, and discharges a gold-leaf electroscope when brought close to it. Radium was discovered by Marie Curie and her husband Pierre Curie in 1898 in pitchblende found in Joachimsthal, North Bohemia. The Curies removed uranium from the pitchblend and found that the remaining material was still radioactive. She succeeded in extracting from it a very small quantity of a substance containing a new element which she named radium. Radium was isolated into its pure metal by Marie and Pierre Curie and Andre Debierne in 1902. In 1910 Madam Curie succeeded in obtaining radium itself by the electrolysis of radium chloride. Handling of radium has since been blamed for Marie Curie's premature death.

What is Radium? Occurrence of the Radium Element
Obtained from uranium ores
Found in USA, Canada, New Mexico, Australia and Africa

Abundance of Radium
% in Universe N/A
% in Sun N/A
% in Meteorites N/A
% in Earth's Crust 9.910-12%
% in Oceans 110-15%
% in Humans 110-13%

Medical Uses of Radium - Health and Treatments
Interesting information on the Medical Uses of Radium, Health and Treatments. Radium salts have been used as radiation sources in the treatment of cancer but are gradually being replaced in such therapy by cobalt and cesium. Radium is used in radiation therapy for malignant diseases, particularly those that are readily accessible, such as cancer tumors of the cervix uteri, mouth, or tongue. In the form of needles  it can be inserted in the cancerous tissue and left in place until its rays penetrate and destroy malignant cells. Radium can also be used in the form of plaques applied to the diseased tissue. Radium rays have been used in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, xanthoma and other skin diseases.

Uses of Radium
Treating cancer
Luminescent paints

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Atomic Number
Element Symbol
Alkaline Earth Metals
Periodic Table

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