Thorium Chemistry

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Introduction: Thorium is a radioactive, solid silvery metal prior to its melting point of melting point of 3300°C. Thorium has an atomic number of 90, placing it two positions behind Uranium, on the periodic table. This is one of the two rare radioactive metals (the other being Uranium) that can be found in high quantities in the earth's crust with the majorly commercial mineral monazite, or it can be rarely found naturally in its oxidized form. Pure thorium looks silvery white and is very delicate, but will harden by the time it has reacted with the atmosphere, which takes several months. Once it starts to react, it's outermost later will undergo a form of corrosion with the atmosphere, tarnishing it black. History: The Swedish chemist, who's considered one of the founders of modern science, Jöns Jacob Berzelius, discovered thorium on an island in…show more content…
In the 19th century, famous Austrian scientist, Carl Auer, created an incandescent gas mantle using thorium oxide to coat the mantle so that it would have a light when you apply a flame/heat. You can imagine how this came into extensive demand and use during this era, when electronic lighting wasn't invented, but by the time the latter form of lighting was invented the sales for thorium oxide coated mantles declined. There was also reason to believe that there were safety issues for those involved in manufacturing the mantles due of thorium's radioactivity. However, you can still find these lanterns in camping stores. Its oxide is applied to the mixtures in heat resistant ceramics, because of its high melting point. It has more advantage, though, it has sufficient strength for materials of construction as it's resistant to abrasion, oxidation, hot water, most acids, and dilute salt solutions. Thorium is also applied as an alloying agent to improve magnesium's strength, which is used for aircraft engines.
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