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Uses of Hydrogen Large quantities of hydrogen are used in the Haber process (production of ammonia), hydrogenation of fats and

oils, methanol production, hydrocracking, and hydrodesulfurization. Hydrogen is also used in metal refining. Liquid hydrogen is used as a rocket fuel, for example powering the Space Shuttles lift-off and ascent into orbit. Liquid hydrogen and oxygen are held in the Shuttles large, external fuel tank. (See image left.) Hydrogens two heavier isotopes (deuterium and tritium) are used in nuclear fusion. The hydrogen economy has been proposed as a replacement for our current hydrocarbon (oil, gas and coal) based economy. The basis of the hydrogen economy is that energy is produced when hydrogen combusts with oxygen and the only by-product from the reaction is water. At the moment, however, the hydrogen for hydrogen-powered cars is produced from hydrocarbons. Only when solar or wind energies, for example, can be used commercially to split water into hydrogen and oxygen will a true hydrogen economy be possible. Uses of Helium Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the biggest user of helium. The helium is used to cool MRI scanners superconducting magnets. Helium is used for filling balloons (blimps) and for pressurizing liquid fuel rockets. Mixtures of helium and oxygen are used as an artificial air for divers and others working under pressure. Helium is used instead of the nitrogen in normal air because, after a long dive, helium leaves the body faster than nitrogen, allowing faster decompression. Helium is used as a gas shield in the vicinity of arc welding preventing, for example, any reaction of hot metal welds with oxygen. The gas is used in the semi-conductor industry to provide an inert atmosphere for growing silicon and germanium crystals. It is also used as a high temperature gas in titanium and zirconium production, and as a carrier gas in gas chromatography. Uses of Lithium Pure lithium metal is used in rechargeable lithium ion batteries and the metal is used as an alloy with aluminum,copper, manganese, and cadmium to make high performance aircraft parts. Lithium also has various nuclear applications, for example as a coolant in nuclear breeder reactors and a source of tritium, which is formed by bombarding lithium with neutrons. Lithium carbonate is used as a mood-stabilizing drug. Lithium chloride and bromide are used as desiccants. Lithium stearate is used as an all-purpose and high-temperature lubricant. Uses of Beryllium Unlike most metals, beryllium is virtually transparent to x-rays and hence it is used in radiation windows for x-ray tubes. Beryllium alloys are used in the aerospace industry as light-weight materials for high performance aircraft, satellites and spacecraft. Beryllium is used as an alloy with copper to make spark-proof tools. Beryllium is also used in nuclear reactors as a reflector and absorber of neutrons, a shield and a moderator.

Uses of Boron Boron is used to dope silicon and germaniumsemiconductors, modifying their electrical properties. Boron oxide (B2O3) is used in glassmaking and ceramics. Borax (Na2B4O7.10H2O) is used in making fiberglass, as a cleansing fluid, a water softener, insecticide, herbicide and disinfectant. Boric acid (H3BO3) is used as a mild antiseptic and as a flame retardant. Boron Nitrides hardness is second only to diamond, but it has better thermal and chemical stability, hence boron nitride ceramics are used in high-temperature equipment. Boron nitride nanotubes can have a similar structure to carbonnanotubes. BN nanotubes are more thermally and chemically stable than carbon nanotubes and, unlike carbon nanotubes, boron nitride nanotubes are electrical insulators. Boron carbide (B4C) is used in tank armor and bullet proof vests. Uses of Carbon Carbon (in the form of coal, which is mainly carbon) is used as a fuel. Graphite is used for pencil tips, high temperature crucibles, dry cells, electrodes and as a lubricant. Diamonds are used in jewelry and because they are so hard in industry for cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing. Carbon black is used as the black pigment in printing ink. Carbon can form alloys with iron, of which the most common is carbon steel. The 14C radioactive isotope is used in archaeological dating. Carbon compounds are important in many areas of the chemical industry carbon forms a vast number of compounds with hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements. Uses of Nitrogen Nitrogen is used to produce ammonia (Haber process) and fertilizers, vital for current food production methods. It is also used to manufacture nitric acid (Ostwald process). In enhanced oil recovery, high pressure nitrogen is used to force crude oil that would otherwise not be recovered out of oil wells. Nitrogens inert qualities find use in the chemical and petroleum industries to blanket storage tanks with an inert layer of gas. Liquid nitrogen is used as a refrigerant. Superconductors for practical technologies should ideally have no electrical resistance at temperatures higher than 63 K because this temperature is achievable relatively cheaply using liquid nitrogen. Lower temperatures come with a much higher price tag. While elemental nitrogen is not very reactive, many of nitrogens compounds are unstable. Most explosives are nitrogen compounds gun powder (based on potassium nitrate), nitroglycerin, trinitro-toluene (TNT), nitrocellulose (gun cotton) nitroglycerin and ammonium nitrate are a few examples. Oxides naturally form in steel during welding and these weaken the weld. Nitrogen can be used to exclude oxygen during welding, resulting in better welds. In the natural world, the nitrogen cycle is of crucial importance to living organisms. Nitrogen is taken from the atmosphere and converted to nitrates through lightning storms and nitrogen fixing bacteria. The nitrates fertilize plant growth where the nitrogen becomes bound in amino acids, DNA and proteins. It can then be eaten by animals. Eventually the nitrogen from the plants and animals returns to the soil and atmosphere and the cycle repeat.

Uses of Oxygen The major commercial use of oxygen is in steel production.Carbon impurities are removed from steel by reaction with oxygen to form carbon dioxide gas. Oxygen is also used in oxyacetylene welding, as an oxidant for rocket fuel, and in methanol and ethylene oxide production. Plants and animals rely on oxygen for respiration. Pure oxygen is frequently used to help breathing in patients with respiratory ailments. Uses of Fluorine Fluorine and its compounds mostly uranium hexafluoride are used in processing nuclear fuel. Fluorochemicals, including many high-temperature plastics such as Teflon, are also made using fluorine. Compounds of fluorine, including sodium fluoride, are used in toothpaste and in drinking water to prevent dental cavities. Hydrofluoric acid can dissolve glass and is used to etch the glass in light bulbs and in other products. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were used in as refrigerants in air conditioning units and freezers but they have now been banned because they contribute to ozone depletion. Uses of Neon When a few thousand volts are applied to neon, it emits an orange/red light. It is therefore often used in brightly lit advertising signs. Georges Claude was the first person to make glass tubes of neon in 1910. He later bent the glass tubes to makes letters that glowed and produced the first neon advertising signs. Neon is also used in high-voltage warning indicators, in Geiger counters and in television tubes. Liquid neon is used as a cryogenic refrigerant. Uses of Sodium Metallic sodium is used in the manufacture of sodamide and esters, and in the preparation of organic compounds. The metal also may be used to modify alloys such as aluminum-silicon by improving their mechanical properties and fluidity. Sodium is used to descale (smooth the surface of) metals and to purify molten metals. Sodium vapor lamps are highly efficient in producing light from electricity and are often used for street lighting in cities. Sodium is used as a heat transfer agent; for example, liquid sodium is used to cool nuclear reactors. Sodium chloride (table salt, NaCl) is vital for good nutrition. Sodium ions facilitate transmission of electrical signals in the nervous system and regulate the water balance between body cells and body fluids. Uses of Magnesium The brilliant light it produces when ignited is made use of in photography, flares, pyrotechnics and incendiary bombs. With a density of only two-thirds that of aluminum, and just over one-fifth that of iron, magnesium alloys are used in aircraft, car engine casings, and missile construction. The metal is widely used in the manufacturing of mobile phones, laptop computers, cameras, and other electronic components. Organic magnesium compounds (Grignard reagents) are important in the synthesis of organic molecules.

Magnesium compounds such as the hydroxide (milk of magnesia, Mg(OH2)), sulfate (Epsom salts), chloride and citrate are used for medicinal purposes. Magnesium is the second most important intracellular cation and is involved in a variety of metabolic processes including glucose metabolism, ion channel translocation, stimuluscontraction coupling, stimulus secretion coupling, peptide hormone receptor signal transduction. (5) Uses of Aluminum As a result of its low density, low cost, and corrosion resistance, aluminum is widely used around the world. It is used in an extensive range of products from drinks cans to window frames and boats to aircraft. A Boeing 747-400 contains 147,000 pounds (66,150 kg) of high-strength aluminum. Unlike some metals, aluminum has no aroma hence its widespread use in food packaging and cooking pots. Although not quite as good as silver or copper, aluminum is an excellent electrical conductor. It is also considerably cheaper and lighter than these metals, so it is used widely in overhead power lines. Of all the metals, only iron is used more widely than aluminum. Uses of Silicon Silicon chips are the basis of modern electronic and computing. The silicon must be ultrapure, although depending on final use it may be doped with part per million levels ofarsenic, boron, gallium, germanium, or phosphorus. Silicon is alloyed with aluminum for use in engines as the presence of silicon improves the metals castability. Silicon can enhance irons magnetic properties; it is also an important component of steel, which it toughens. Silicon carbide, more commonly called carborundum, is extremely hard and is used in abrasives. Silica (SiO2) in sand and minerals in clay is used to make concrete and bricks. Silica, as sand, is also the main constituent of glass. Pure, crystalline silicon dioxide (quartz) resonates at a very precise frequency and is used in high-precision watches and clocks. Silicones are important silicon based polymers. Having heat-resistant, nonstick, and rubber-like properties, silicones are often used in cookware, medicine (implants), and as sealants, adhesives, lubricants, and for insulation. Uses of Phosphorus Phosphorus is a vital plant nutrient and its main use via phosphate compounds is in the production of fertilizers. Just as there are biological carbon and nitrogen cycles, there is also a phosphorus cycle. Phosphorus is used in the manufacture of safety matches (red phosphorus), pyrotechnics and incendiary shells. Phosphorus is also used in steel manufacture and in the production of phosphor bronze. Phosphates are ingredients of some detergents. Phosphorus is used to make light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Uses of Sulfur Sulfurs main commercial use is as a reactant in the production of sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Sulfuric acid is the industrialized worlds number one bulk chemical, required in large quantities in leadacid batteries for automotive use.

Sulfur is also used in the vulcanization of natural rubber, as a fungicide, in black gunpowder, in detergents and in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers. Sulfur is a vital element for all forms of life. It is a component of two amino acids, cysteine and methionine. Uses of Chlorine Chlorine is used for producing safe drinking water. Chlorinated compounds are used mostly for sanitation, pulp bleaching, disinfectants, and textile processing. Chlorine is also used for the manufacture of chlorates and it is important in organic chemistry, forming compounds such as chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, polyvinyl chloride, and synthetic rubber. Other uses of chlorine compounds include dyestuffs, petroleum products, medicines, antiseptics, insecticides, foodstuffs, solvents, paints and plastics. Uses of Argon As a result of its unreactiveness, argon is used in light bulbs to protect the filament and to provide an unreactive atmosphere in the vicinity of welding. It is also used in the semi-conductor industry to provide an inert atmosphere for silicon and germanium crystal growth. Argon is used in medical lasers, in ophthalmology for example to correct eye defects such as blood vessel leakage, retinal detachment, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Argon has low thermal conductivity and is used as the gas between the glass panes in highefficiency double and triple glazing.

Appearance and Characteristics Harmful effects: In healthy people with normal kidney function, a potassium intake from foods does not seem to pose potential for increased risk, because excess potassium is readily excreted in the urine. In people whose urinary excretion of potassium is impaired, a potassium intake below 4.7 g (120 mmol)/day is appropriate because of adverse cardiac effects. If the digestive system is bypassed and potassium salts are injected into a vein, the heart can be stopped. (5) (6) (7) Due to its highly reactive nature, elemental potassium must be handled with extreme care. Characteristics: Potassium is silvery-white, low melting, metal soft enough to be easily cut with a knife. It tarnishes rapidly in air, forming a dull oxide coating. Potassium burns with a lilac colored flame. It is extremely reactive, reacting violently with water, for example, to producehydrogen gas and potassium hydroxide. Potassium is a very light metal (the second least dense metal after lithium) and would float on water if it were not so reactive. Uses of Potassium Potassium is vital for plant growth. Plants use it, for example, to make proteins, hence the greatest demand for potassium compounds is in fertilizers. Potassium hydroxide is a strong alkali and an important industrial chemical. It is used in the manufacture of soft soaps and as an electrolyte in alkaline batteries. Potassium chloride is used as a healthier alternative to table salt. Toughened glass can be made by immersing glass in molten potassium nitrate.

Potassium nitrate is the main explosive ingredient in gunpowder. Uses of Calcium Calcium forms alloys with aluminum, beryllium, copper, lead, and magnesium. It is used in the manufacture of other metals such as uranium and thorium. Calcium is used to remove oxygen, sulfur and carbon from alloys. Calcium from limestone is a vital component of Portland cement. Quicklime (CaO) is used in many applications in the chemical industry, such as treatment of drinking water especially for water softening and arsenic removal, animal waste and wastewater. Uses of Scandium Scandium is used in aluminum-scandium alloys for aerospace industry components and for sports equipment such as bicycle frames, fishing rods, golf iron shafts and baseball bats. Scandium iodide is used in mercury vapor lamps, which are used to replicate sunlight in studios for the film and television industry. Scandium oxide (scandia), is used to make high intensity stadium lights. The radioactive isotope 45Sc is used in oil refineries as a tracing agent. Very dilute scandium sulfate is used to improve the germination of seeds such as corn, peas and wheat. Uses of Titanium Titanium metal is used as an alloying agent with metals including aluminum, iron, molybdenum and manganese. Alloys of titanium are mainly used in aerospace, aircraft and engines where strong, lightweight, temperature-resistant materials are needed. As a result of its resistance to seawater, (see above) titanium is used for hulls of ships, propeller shafts and other structures exposed to the sea. Titanium is also used in joint replacement implants, such as the ball-and-socket hip joint. About 95% of titanium production is in the forum of titanium dioxide (titania). This intensely white pigment, with a high refractive index and strong UV light absorption, is used in white paint, food coloring, toothpaste, plastics and sunscreen. Titanium is used in several everyday products such as drill bits, bicycles, golf clubs, watches and laptop computers. Uses of Vanadium The main use of vanadium is in alloys, especially with steel. 85% of all the vanadium produced goes into steel, 10% goes into alloys of titanium and 5% into all other uses. 7 A small amount of vanadium adds strength, toughness, and heat resistance. It is usually added in the form of ferrovanadium, a vanadium-iron alloy. Vanadium steel alloys are used in gears, axles and crankshafts. Titanium-aluminum-vanadium alloy is used in jet engines and for high-speed aircraft. Vanadium foil is used in cladding titanium to steel. Vanadium-gallium tape is used in superconducting magnets. Vanadium pentoxide is used in ceramics and as a catalyst for the production of sulfuric acid. The first extensive industrial use of vanadium metal was over a century ago in the vanadiumsteel alloy chassis of the Ford Model T car.

A 1908 advertisement for the Model T read, Vanadium steel, the strongest, toughest and most enduring steel ever manufactured, is used throughout the entire car. Uses of Chromium Chromium is used in stainless steel, and other alloys. Chromium plating, for example on cars and bicycles, produces a smooth, silver finish that is highly resistant to corrosion. The metal is also widely used as a catalyst. Chromium compounds are valued as pigments for their vivid green, yellow, red and orange colors. Uses of Manganese For over 2000 years manganese dioxide has been used to make colorless glass. Glass is made from sand (silica) and most sand contains iron (II) oxide, which naturally gives glass a green color. It is sometimes incorrectly stated that the manganese dioxide oxidizes the iron (II) oxide to iron (III) oxide; with a corresponding color change from intense green to pale yellow and the pale yellow is too faint to be seen. In fact, the real reason the glass decolorizes is complementary colors. Colors that are directly opposite one another on the color wheel (image: left) cancel one another out, to leave a pale gray. In glass the manganese dioxide forms a violet silicate which cancels the green color of Iron (II). (9) Manganese dioxide is also used as a black-brown pigment in paint and as a filler in dry cell batteries. The great majority of manganese ore ends up in steel production where the manganese desulfurizes and deoxidizes the steel. It is also is used extensively to produce a variety of important alloys. For example, the aluminum used to make most soft drinks cans contains about 1% manganese to improve the cans stiffness and corrosion resistance. Organo-manganese compounds can be added to gasoline to increase its octane rating and reduce engine knock. Manganese is the twelfth most abundant element in the earths crust and it is an essential trace element for all life on earth. In the human body several manganese-containing enzymes are need to metabolize carbohydrates, cholesterol, and amino acids. Typically our bodies have about 10 20 mg manganese. This needs to be topped up frequently because our bodies cannot store it. About a quarter of the manganese in our bodies is in bone, while the rest is evenly distributed through our tissues. (10) Uses of Iron Iron is the cheapest and most important of all metals important in the sense that iron is overwhelmingly the most commonly used metal, accounting for 95 percent of worldwide metal production. Iron is used to manufacture steel and other alloys important in construction and manufacturing. Iron is also vital in the functioning of living organisms, transporting oxygen in blood via the hemoglobin molecule. Uses of Cobalt Cobalt is used in alloys for aircraft engine parts and in alloys with corrosion/wear resistant uses. Cobalt is widely used in batteries and in electroplating. Cobalt salts are used to impart blue and green colors in glass and ceramics. Radioactive 60Co is used in the treatment of cancer.

Cobalt is essential to many living creatures and is a component of vitamin B12. Cobalt is also used in samarium-cobalt permanent magnets. These are used in guitar pickups and high speed motors. Uses of Nickel The majority of nickel is used in corrosion-resistant alloys, such as stainless steel. Tubing made from a copper-nickel alloy is used in desalination plants. This alloy is naturally resistant to corrosion by seawater and to biofouling. Many coins contain nickel. Nickel steel is used for burglar-proof vaults and armor plate. Nickel is also used in batteries for example NiCd (nickel-cadmium) and Ni-MH (nickel-metal hydride) rechargeable batteries and in magnets. Uses of Copper As a result of its excellent electrical conductivity, coppers most common use is in electrical equipment such as wiring and motors. Because it corrodes slowly, copper is used in roofing, guttering, and as rainspouts on buildings. It is also used in plumbing and in cookware and cooking utensils. Commercially important alloys such as brass and bronze are made with copper and other metals. Gun metals and American coins are copper alloys. Copper sulfate is used as a fungicide and as an algicide in rivers, lakes and ponds. Copper oxide in Fehlings solution is widely used in tests for the presence of monosaccharides (simple sugars). Uses of Zinc Zinc is used to galvanize iron to inhibit corrosion. Zinc forms many alloys with other metals such as brass, German silver, nickel silver, typewriter metal and solders. Zinc alloys are used in die-castings for the car industry. The metal acts as both the container and as an electrode in zinc-carbon batteries. The drawback of this dual use is that the electrode is consumed when the battery is in use, getting thinner until eventually the battery starts leaking. Zinc is an essential trace element for animals and plants. Zinc oxide, a white powder, is a versatile compound that has many uses. It is used in sun block, make-up and in ointments such as calamine lotion. It is also used in the rubber industry, concrete manufacturing and in paints. Uses of Gallium Low melting gallium alloys are used in some medical thermometers as non-toxic substitutes for mercury. Gallium arsenide is used in semiconductor production mainly for laser diodes, light-emitting diodes and solar panels. It is also used to create brilliant mirrors. Uses of Germanium The most common use of germanium is as a semiconductor. Germanium is used in transistors and in integrated circuits. It is used as an alloying agent and as a catalyst. It is also used in infrared spectroscopes and infrared detectors. Some germanium compounds are useful because they are toxic to bacteria but are harmless for mammals. Uses of Arsenic As a result of its toxicity, arsenic compounds are used in wood preservation and insecticides.

Gallium arsenide (GaAs) is a semiconductor used in laser diodes and LEDs. Small amounts of arsenic (less than two percent) can be used in lead alloys for ammunition. Despite its potential toxicity, arsenic is also an essential element, necessary to our physiology. A level of 0.00001% is needed for growth and for a healthy nervous system. Uses of Selenium Selenium is used in the glass industry to decolorize glass and to make red-colored glasses and enamels. It is used as a catalyst in many chemical reactions. Selenium is used in solar cells and photocells in fact the first solar cell was made using selenium. It is also used as a photographic toner. Selenium is used with bismuth in brasses and as an additive to stainless steel. When selenium is added to iron and copper based metals it improves their machinability. Selenium sulfide is used in anti-dandruff shampoos. Despite the toxicity of its compounds, selenium is also an essential trace element for humans and other animals. Without it, the enzyme glutathione peroxidase (GPX), which protects against oxidative damage in cells, could not function. Abnormally low selenium in the diet might increase the risk of cancer. Abnormally high levels of selenium compounds can lead to selenium poisoning. (9) Plants do not appear to need selenium, but they do need sulfur. When selenium is present in soils, it is used by plants as if it were sulfur, introducing selenium into food chains. In soils with low sulfur content, some plants can have high levels of selenium compounds. Animals that eat these plants may suffer ill-health. Selenium deficiency in animals can lead to slow growth and reproductive dysfunction. Uses of Bromine Bromine compounds are used as pesticides, dyestuffs, water purification compounds, and as a flame-retardants in plastics. 1,2-dibromoethane is used as an anti-knock agent to raise the octane number of gasoline and allow engines to run more smoothly. This application has declined as a result of environmental legislation. Potassium bromide is used as a source of bromide ions for the manufacture of silver bromide for photographic film. Uses of Krypton Krypton is used in lighting products: An important use is in high-powered, flashing airport runway lights. Ionized krypton gas appears whitish see photo on left which makes krypton-based bulbs useful as a brilliant white light source in high speed photography. Krypton is employed alongside other gases to make luminous neon light style signs that glow with a greenish-yellow light. Krypton is used as a filling gas for energy-saving fluorescent lights and as an inert filling gas in incandescent bulbs. The relative abundance of krypton versus hydrogen can be used by astronomers to measure how much nucleosynthesis (element formation) has taken place in any region of interstellar space. (7) Between 1960 and 1983, an international agreement defined the meter length in terms of the wavelength of light emitted from the krypton isotope, 86Kr. (The meter is now defined as the distance traveled by light in vacuum during a time of 1/299,792,458 of a second. The time is measured using a cesium atomic clock.)

Uses of Rubidium Rubidium is used in photocells, as a getter (remover of trace gases) in vacuum tubes and as working fluid in vapor turbines. Rubidium-87 is slightly radioactive and has been used extensively in dating rocks. Rubidium compounds give a purple color in fireworks. Rubidium salts are used in glasses and ceramics. Uses of Strontium Strontium is used for producing glass (cathode ray tubes) for color televisions. It is also used in producing ferrite ceramic magnets and in refining zinc. The worlds most accurate atomic clock, accurate to one second in 200 million years, has been developed using strontium atoms. Strontium salts are used in flares and fireworks for a crimson color. Strontium chloride is used in toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Strontium oxide is used to improve the quality of pottery glazes. The isotope 90Sr is one of the best long-lived, high-energy beta emitters known. It is used in cancer therapy. Uses of Yttrium Yttrium is often used in alloys, increasing the strength ofaluminum and magnesium alloys. It is also used as a deoxidizer for non-ferrous metals such asvanadium. Yttrium is used as a catalyst in ethylene polymerization. Yttrium-90, a radioactive isotope, is used in treatments for various cancers and is used in precision medical needles to sever pain-transmitting nerves in the spinal cord. Yttrium oxide is the most important compound of yttrium. It is used to make the hightemperature superconductor YBCO (yttrium barium copper oxide). This substance becomes superconducting at -178 oC (meaning that it can be kept in a superconducting state using liquid nitrogen, rather than more expensive and more difficult to handle liquid helium). Yttrium oxide is also used to make yttrium iron garnets (Y3 Fe5O12) which are very effective microwave filters, blocking some microwave frequencies, while allowing others through in communication devices such as satellites. Yttrium doped with europium is used to produce phosphors, which provide the red color in color television tubes. Uses of Zirconium Zirconium is very poor at absorbing neutrons. It is therefore useful in nuclear energy applications such as in the cladding (outer layer) of fuel rods through which it is important that neutrons can travel easily. Zirconium is used as to make surgical instruments and is used in steel alloys as a hardening agent. As a result of its exceptional corrosion resistance, zirconium is used extensively in the chemical industry in corrosive environments where zirconiums alloys can be found in pipes, fittings and heat exchangers. Zirconium is also used to make superconductive magnets. Zircon (zirconium silicate, ZrSiO4) is a natural gemstone and synthetic cubic zirconia (zirconium dioxide, ZrO2) is produced as a low-cost substitute for diamond. Zirconium based catalysts are used in amination, hydrogenation, isomerization and oxidation reactions.

Lithium zirconate can be used to absorb carbon dioxide. The reaction is reversible so the carbon dioxide can be released in a location of choice and the lithium zirconate used again. This application may be useful in addressing environmental concerns about the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Uses of Niobium Niobium is used with iron and other elements in stainless steel alloys and also in alloys with a variety of nonferrous metals, such as zirconium, Niobium alloys are strong and are often used in pipeline construction. The metal is used in superalloys for jet engines and heat resistant equipment. Niobium is also used for jewelry. At cryogenic temperatures, niobium is a superconductor. Uses of Molybdenum Molybdenum is used in small quantities to harden steel and is used in many alloys. Molybdenums strength and resistance to expanding or softening at high temperatures is particularly sought after in critical areas where high temperatures are common, such as in nuclear power plants and aircraft engines. Molybdenum is used as glass furnace electrodes due to its high melting point. It is also used in the petroleum industry, to catalyze the removal of organic sulfur compounds in coal liquification and gas liquification processes. Molybdenum is an essential trace element for animals and plants. As with selenium, too much of it is toxic, too little of it is fatal. In nitrogen fixing bacteria, molybdenum is a vital component of the nitrogenase enzyme which allows conversion of nitrogengas in air into nitrates vital for plant growth. Molybdenum is also present in 20 or so enzymes needed in animals metabolisms. Uses of Technetium Technetium-99m is a metastable isotope with a half-life of six hours. Technetium-99m emits gamma rays and low energy electrons, forming technetium-99 (half-life 211000 years). The gamma rays can be photographed using a gamma camera, and technetium-99m is used in 80 to 90 percent of all diagnostic procedures that use radioactive elements. Technetium-95, with a half-life of 61 days, is used as a radioactive tracer. Technetium-99, has a very long half-life (2.11 X 105 years) and decays almost entirely by beta decay with no gamma rays. It is used as for equipment calibration. In small concentrations the pertechnetate ion (TcO 4-) can protect carbon steels and iron from corrosion. This use is limited to closed systems due to its radioactivity. Uses of Ruthenium Small amounts of ruthenium are used to harden platinum andpalladium and it can also be alloyed with these metals to make electrical contacts for severe wear resistance. The addition of 0.1% ruthenium improves the corrosion resistance of titanium a hundred times over. Ruthenium has catalytic properties; for example, hydrogen sulfide can be split by light in the presence of an aqueous suspension of cadmium sulfide particles loaded with ruthenium dioxide. Interestingly, ruthenium is used in some Parker pen nibs, such as the Parker 51 whose nib is marked RU, and consists of 96.2% ruthenium and 3.8% iridium(2). Uses of Rhodium The majority of rhodium is used as a catalyst in catalytic converters. It is also used to catalyze industrial processes.

Rhodium is used as an alloying agent for hardening and improving the corrosion resistance of platinum and palladium. As a result of its low electrical resistance, low and stable contact resistance, and its stability against corrosion rhodium is used as an electrical contact material. The metal is used in jewelry and for decorations. Uses of Palladium The largest use of palladium is in catalytic converters for automobiles. Finely divided palladium is used as a catalyst for hydrogenation/dehydrogenation reactions and for petroleum cracking. The metal is used in jewelry, for example in white gold (an alloy of gold decolorized by the addition of palladium). Palladium is used in dentistry, watch making, and in making surgical instruments and electrical contacts. It is also used to purify hydrogen because the gas easily diffuses through heated palladium. Uses of Silver Sterling silver (an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper) or Britannia silver (an alloy of 95.8% silver and 4.2% copper) are used for jewelry and silverware. Silver is used as a food additive/coloring and is given the E number E174. About 30% of silver produced is used in the photographic industry, mostly as silver nitrate. Silver is used in solders, electrical contacts, and silver-cadmium and silver-zinc batteries. Silver paints are used in the manufacture of electronic printed circuits. It is used in superior mirror production, as silver is the best known reflector of visible light, although it does tarnish over time. Silver iodide is used in artificial rain making to seed clouds. Silver compounds were used successfully to prevent infection in World War 1. Uses of Cadmium Cadmiums major use is in batteries (especially rechargeablenickel-cadmium, NiCad, batteries). As a result of its low coefficient of friction and its high fatigue resistance, cadmium is used in alloys for bearings. Cadmium is used in low melting alloys and is a component of many kinds of solder. It is also is used in electroplating. Compounds containing cadmium are used in black and white television phosphors, and in the blue and green phosphors for color television picture tubes. Cadmium sulfide is used as a yellow pigment, and cadmium selenide is used as a red pigment, often called cadmium red. Cadmium and tellurium can be compounded into CdTe thin-film photovoltaic modules whose physical characteristics are ideal for solar cell production. They are relatively low cost and have an almost perfect bandgap for solar energy harvesting. Uses of Indium Indium is used in the production of low-melting alloys, typically with gallium. The melting point depends on the ratio of indium to gallium. An alloy with 24% indium and 76% gallium, for example, melts at just 16 oC. (4) This type of alloy can be used as a non-toxic alternative tomercury in some applications. Compounds of indium are used in the semiconductor industry for germanium transistors, thermistors, rectifiers and photocells. Indium can be coated on metals and evaporated onto glass, to form mirrors equal to that made with silver but more corrosion resistant. Indium-tin oxide thin films are used for liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

Uses of Tin Tin is used as a coating on the surface of other metals to prevent corrosion. Tin cans, for example, are made of tin-coated steel. Alloys of tin are commercially important in, for example, soft solder, pewter, bronze and phosphor bronze. Tin chloride (stannous chloride, SnCl2) is used as a mordant in dyeing textiles and for increasing the weight of silk. Stannous fluoride (SnF2) is used in some toothpastes. Uses of Antimony The major use of antimony is in lead alloys mainly for use in batteries adding hardness and smoothness of finish. The higher the proportion of antimony in the alloy, the harder and more brittle it will be. Alloys made with antimony expand on cooling, retaining the finer details of molds. Antimony alloys are therefore used in making typefaces for clear, sharp printing. Babbit metals, used for machinery bearings, are alloys oflead, tin, copper and antimony. These metals are hard but slippery and so ideal for use as bearings. (8) Antimony is used in the semiconductor industry as an n-type dopant for silicon. Antimony trioxide is used as a flame retardant in adhesives, plastics, rubber and textiles. Uses of Tellurium Tellurium is alloyed with copper and stainless steel to make these metals more workable. It is added at very low levels to lead to decreases the corrosive action of sulfuric acid in batteries and to improve the leads strength and hardness. Tellurium is used as a coloring agent in ceramics. Tellurium is also used in the electronics industry, for example with cadmium and mercury to form photosensitive semiconductors. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is used as a thin film in solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. CdTe panels have an efficiency rating of between 11 and 13 percent compared to amorphous silicon solar panels which have an efficiency of between 7 to 9 percent. (6) It is used in vulcanizing rubber and in catalysts for petroleum cracking and in blasting caps for explosives. Uses of Iodine Iodine is important in medicine, in both radioactive and non-radioactive forms. Iodide and thyroxin, which contains iodine, are used inside the body. A solution containing potassium iodide (KI) and iodine in alcohol is used to disinfect external wounds. Elemental iodine is also used as a disinfectant. Silver iodide is used in photography. Iodine is sometimes added to table salt to prevent thyroid disease. Iodines other uses include catalysts, animal feeds and printing inks and dyes. Uses of Xenon Xenon is used in photographic flashes, in high pressure arc lamps for motion picture projection, and in high pressure arc lamps to produce ultraviolet light. It is used in instruments for radiation detection, e.g., neutron and X-ray counters and bubble chambers. Xenon is used in medicine as a general anesthetic and in medical imaging. Modern ion thrusters for space travel use inert gases especially xenon for propellant, so there is no risk of the explosions associated with chemical propulsion. Uses of Cesium

Cesium is used in atomic clocks, which are incredibly accurate. NIST-F1, Americas primary time and frequency standard, is a cesium fountain atomic clock developed at the NIST laboratories in Boulder, Colorado. NIST-F1 contributes to the international group of atomic clocks that define Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the official world time. As scientists continue to improve its technology, uncertainty in NIST-F1s measurement of time is continually improving. Currently it neither gains nor loses as much a second in more than 60 million years but see strontium. Cesium is also used in photoelectric cells and as a catalyst in the hydrogenation of organic compounds. The metal is used as a getter in vacuum tubes. Cesium hydroxide is used to etch silicon. Uses of Barium Barium is used as a flashed getter in vacuum tubes to remove the last traces of gases. Barium is an important element in yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) superconductors. An alloy of barium with nickel is used in sparkplug wire. Barium sulfate (barite) is used to increase the contrast in x-ray imaging of the digestive system. Uses of Lanthanum Lanthanum is used in large quantities in nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries for hybrid automobiles. The negative electrode (cathode) in NiMH batteries is a mixture of metal hydrides one of which is typically lanthanum hydride. The active material at the cathode is hydrogen, which is stored in the metal hydride structure. The metal hydride can, depending on its composition, hold between 1% and 7% hydrogen by weight. (3) A Toyota Prius battery requires about 10 kg of lanthanum. (4) Lanthanum is used as a petroleum cracking catalyst, catalyzing the splitting of long chain hydrocarbons into shorter chained species. Lanthanum is used as an additive to make nodular cast ironand as an additive in steel. Flame lighter flints use misch metal (a rare earth alloy) containing lanthanum to produce sparks by friction. Lanthanum is used in hydrogen sponge alloys, which take up to 400 times their own volume of hydrogen gas. Lanthanum is also used to make night vision goggles (infrared-absorbing glass). High quality camera and telescope lenses contain lanthanum oxide (La2O3) making use of its high refractive index and low dispersion. Lanthanum carbonate is used to reduce blood levels of phosphate in patients with kidney disease. (5) Lanthanum compounds are also used in some pool products to reduce the level of phosphate nutrients that algae feed on. Uses of Cerium An alloy of cerium and lanthanum, with small amounts ofneodymium and praseodymium (misch metal) combined with iron oxide and magnesium oxide is used as the flint in cigarette and gas lighters. Cerium is used in carbon-arc lighting, especially in the motion picture industry. It is also used in phosphors for color television screens and fluorescent lighting. Cerium oxide is used as a catalytic converter to reduce carbon monoxide emissions in the exhaust fumes from automobiles. Cerium oxide, as a nanopowder, is added to diesel fuel to reduce sooty fumes and improve engine performance. It is used in the walls of self-cleaning ovens and is also used to polish glass surfaces.

Flammacerium (cerium nitrate-silver sulphadiazine) is a cream to treat and prevent infections in extensive burn wounds. The cerium nitrate component reduces the occurrence of immunosuppression. (5) Uses of Praseodymium Praseodymium is used in high-intensity permanent magnets, which are essential in electric motors and generators used in hybrid cars and wind turbines. Praseodymium is used in nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries for hybrid automobiles. The negative electrode (cathode) in NiMH batteries is a mixture of metal hydrides typically a rare earth misch metal hydride containing praseodymium, neodymium, lanthanum andcerium. The metal is used as an alloying agent with magnesiumcreating a high-strength metal for aircraft engines. Praseodymium is used to make specialized yellow glass goggles for glass blowers and welders. Flame lighter flints use misch metal (a rare earth alloy) containing praseodymium to produce sparks by friction. Praseodymium salts are used to color glasses and enamels. Praseodymium is also used in the core of high-intensity carbon arc lights used by the film industry and in floodlighting. Uses of Neodymium Neodymium is used with iron and boron to create powerful permanent magnets, also called NIB magnets. NIB magnets are used in computers, cell phones, medical equipment, toys, motors, wind turbines and audio systems. (3) Neodymium is used as a crystal (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet) in lasers. These ND:YAG lasers have numerous applications. For example, they are used in medicine to treat skin cancers and for laser hair removal; and in industry they are used to cut and weld steel. Neodymium is used to make specialized goggles for glass blowers. The metal is also used in a spark producing alloy (misch metal) for cigarette lighter flints. Neodymium salts are used to color glasses and enamels. Uses of Promethium Promethium is useful as a beta source for thickness gauges. Promethium is also used in atomic batteries for spacecraft and guided missiles. Uses of Samarium Samariums main use is in samarium-cobalt alloy magnets for headphones, small motors and pickups for some electric guitars. These magnets have a high resistance to demagnetization. They keep their ferromagnetism at temperatures up to 700 oC. (3) As a result of their ability to operate at high temperatures, SmCo magnets are used in precision-guided weapons. Samarium oxide (samaria) is used as a catalyst for the dehydration and dehydrogenation of ethanol. Samarium oxide is also used in infrared absorbing glass. Radioactive 153Sm is used in the treatment of cancers. Samarium is also used as an absorber in nuclear reactors. Uses of Europium Europium oxide (europia) is widely used as a doping agent in phosphors in television sets and computer monitors: valency three europium produces a red radiance and valency two europium produces a blue radiance. When both valencies are combined a white light is produced which is used in compact fluorescent bulbs. Europium is also used in phosphors in anti-forgery marks on Euro bank notes.

Europium isotopes are good neutron absorbers and are used in nuclear reactor control rods. Uses of Gadolinium Gadolinium is used in alloys of iron and chromium to improve resistance to high temperatures and oxidation. Gadolinium is used to make gadolinium yttrium garnets which have microwave applications. Gadolinium compounds are used as green phosphors in color television picture tubes. Because of its magnetic properties, gadolinium is also used in intravenous radiocontrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Arc-melted alloys of gadolinium, silicon, and germaniumdemonstrate a strong magnetocaloric effect at room temperatures (where its temperature increases when it enters a magnetic field and decreases when it leaves the magnetic field) making it useful in the field of room temperature magnetic refrigeration. Uses of Terbium The luminescence of Tb3+ is important in a significant number of applications. Terbium is used in color phosphors in lighting applications such as trichromatic lighting and in color TV tubes. It also makes the green color on your Blackberry or other high definition screen. Tb3+ ions can be used to check for the presence of microbes. Terbium chloride is applied to the test area, which is then illuminated with UV light. Within minutes, any live endospores present will glow green. (11) Euro banknotes use rare earth chemistry to defeat counterfeiters. Shining UV light on a euro results in green fluorescence from terbium Tb3+, red from europium Eu3+, and blue from thulium Tm3+. A terbium-iron alloy is used to provide metallic films for magneto-optic recording of data. Hybrid car engines have electric motors and all electric motors are based on magnets. These magnets need to retain their magnetism at high temperatures. Alloying neodymium with terbium and dysprosium produces such magnets. These magnets are also used in the electric motors of wind-turbines, where high temperatures are also generated. Terfenol-D (a terbium, iron and dysprosium alloy) expands or contracts in the presence of a magnetic field (magnetostriction). It is used in a speaker called the SoundBug, which turns any flat surface into a speaker. The SoundBug vibrates any material it is placed on, such as a table or desk, making it into a speaker. Terbium is also used as a dopant for materials in solid-state devices and optical fibers. Uses of Dysprosium Dysprosium is good at absorbing neutrons and so it is used in dysprosium-oxide-nickel cement in control rods in nuclear reactors. Terfenol-D (a terbium, iron and dysprosium alloy) expands or contracts in the presence of a magnetic field (magnetostriction) and is used in ships sonar systems and in sensors and transducers. Terfenol-D is also used in a speaker called the SoundBug, which turns any flat surface into a speaker. Dysprosium is used in data storage applications such as compact discs and hard discs. It is also used in medium source rare-earth lamps (MSRs) in the film industry. Dysprosium iodide is used these lamps to produce an intense white light. With vanadium, dysprosium is used in laser materials.

Uses of Holmium As a result of its special magnetic properties, holmium is used in alloys for the production of magnets and as a flux concentrator for high magnetic fields. Holmia (holmium oxide) is used as a yellow or red coloring for glass and cubic zirconia. Holmium isotopes are good neutron absorbers and are used in nuclear reactor control rods. Holmium is also used in solid-state lasers for non-invasive medical procedures treating cancers and kidney stones. Uses of Erbium Erbium isotopes are good neutron absorbers and are used in nuclear reactor control rods. The oxide erbia is used as a pink coloring agent in glazes and glasses. Erbium is used in alloys especially with vanadium to decrease the hardness of metals. It is also used in amplifiers and lasers. Erbium is used in photographic filters to absorb infrared light. Erbium is also used in yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) medical lasers for procedures involving skin resurfacing such as acne scars, mole removal tattoo removal and warts. Uses of Thulium Radioactive isotope 170Tm is produced by bombarding thulium in a nuclear reactor. It has a halflife of 128 days and is used as a portable source of x-rays. Thulium is used to dope yttrium aluminum garnets (YAG) used in lasers. Thulium is also used in alloys with other rare earth metals. Thulium is used in euro banknotes for its blue fluorescence under UV light to defeat counterfeiters. Uses of Ytterbium Isotope 160Yb is radioactive and is used in portable x-ray machines that need no electricity. Under very high physical stress Ytterbiums electrical resistance increases by an order of magnitude. It is therefore used in stress gauges to monitor ground deformations caused by earthquakes or underground explosions. Ytterbium is used in alloys and is added to stainless steel to improve grain refinement and strength. Ytterbium fiber laser amplifiers are used in marking and engraving. Ytterbium compounds are also used as catalysts in the organic chemical industry. Uses of Lutetium Lutetium oxide is used to make catalysts for cracking hydrocarbons in the petrochemical industry. 177 Lu is used in cancer therapy and because of its long half-life, 176Lu is used to date the age of meteorites. Lutetium oxyorthosilicate (LSO) is currently used in detectors in positron emission tomography (PET). This is a noninvasive medical scan that creates a three-dimensional image of the bodys cellular activity. Uses of Hafnium Hafnium is used for nuclear reactor control rods because of its ability to absorb neutrons and its good mechanical and corrosion resistance qualities. This is in complete contrast to zirconium, which although is chemically is very similar to hafnium, is very poor at absorbing neutrons. Zirconium is therefore used in the cladding (outer layer) of fuel rods through which it is important that neutrons can travel easily.

Hafnium is also used in photographic flash bulbs, light bulb filaments, and in electronic equipment as cathodes and capacitors. Hafnium alloys with several other metals, such as iron,niobium, tantalum and titanium. Hafnium-niobium alloys, for example, are heat resistant and are used in aerospace applications, such as space rocket engines. Hafnium carbide is used to line high temperature furnaces / kilns due to its refractory properties (it does not melt at high temperatures). Hafnium-based compounds are used in gate insulators in the 45 nm generation of integrated circuits for computers. Hafnium oxide-based compounds are being introduced into silicon-based chips to produce smaller, more energy efficient and performance packed processors(4). Uses of Tantalum Tantalum is used in the electronics industry for capacitors and high power resistors. It is also used to make alloys to increase strength, ductility and corrosion resistance. The metal is used in dental and surgical instruments and implants, as it causes no immune response. Uses of Tungsten Tungsten and its alloys are widely used for filaments in older style (not energy saving) electric bulbs and electronic tubes. Tungsten is also used as the filament in halogen tungsten lamps. These lamps use halogens like bromine and iodine to prevent the tungsten filament from degrading and are therefore more energy efficient than standard incandescent light bulbs. High speed steel (which can cut material at higher speeds than carbon steel), contains up to 18% tungsten. Tungsten is used in heavy metal alloys because of its hardness and in high-temperature applications such as welding. Tungsten carbide (WC or W2C) is extremely hard and is used to make drills. It is also used for jewelry because of its hardness and wear resistance. Uses of Rhenium Rhenium is used with platinum as catalysts in the production of lead-free, high-octane gasoline. The metal is used in alloys for jet engines and in tungsten andmolybdenum based alloys. It is widely used as filaments for mass spectrographs. Rhenium is also used as an electrical contact material. Rhenium catalysts are exceptionally resistant to poisoning from nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorous and are useful in the hydrogenation of fine chemicals. Uses of Osmium Osmium is principally used alloyed with other metals in the platinum group to produce very hard alloys. An alloy of 90% platinum and 10% osmium is used in surgical implants such as pacemakers and replacement heart valves. Osmium tetroxide is used in microscopy as a stain for fatty tissue and in fingerprint detection. Uses of Iridium The main use of iridium is as a hardening agent for platinum alloys. With osmium, it forms an alloy that is used for tipping pens, and compass bearings. Iridium is used in making crucibles and other equipment that is used at high temperatures. It is also used to make heavy-duty electrical contacts.

Iridium was used in making the international standard kilogram, which is an alloy of 90% platinum and 10% iridium. Radioactive isotopes of iridium are used in radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Uses of Platinum Platinum is widely used as a catalyst for chemical reactions. The most important use of platinum is in vehicles, as a catalytic converter, facilitating the complete combustion of unburned hydrocarbon passing through the exhaust. Platinum is used in jewelry, decoration and dental work. The metal and its alloys are also used for electrical contacts, fine resistance wires and medical / laboratory instruments. An alloy of platinum and cobalt is used to produce strong permanent magnets. The metal is also used to make electrodes sealed in glass (as its thermal coefficient of expansion is almost equal to that of glass). Uses of Gold Gold is widely used in jewelry and coinage. It is also used in dental work as crowns, as gold plating for decoration and as gold thread in embroidery work. The gold content in alloys is usually measured in carats (k), with pure gold defined as 24k. Many satellites carry gold-coated mylar sheets as a solar heat shield because gold is an excellent reflector of radiation and unreactive. Similarly astronauts helmet visors are coated with a thin layer of gold to guard against dangerous effects of solar radiation. Gold is used widely in microelectronic circuits to ensure reliable, corrosion-resistant and staticfree performance. The isotope 198Au, with a half-life of 2.7 days, is used for treating cancers especially of the bladder, cervix, and prostate. Gold flake is added to some gourmet sweets and drinks. Chloroauric acid (HAuCl4) is used in photography for toning the silver image. Uses of Mercury Mercury is used in barometers and manometers (instruments for measuring the pressure of gases and liquids), because of its high density. The metal also has a high rate of nearly linear thermal expansion, so it is used extensively in thermometers. Its ease in amalgamating with metals is made use of in extracting gold, silver, and platinum from their ores. Mercury is widely used in making advertising signs, mercury switches and other electrical apparatus. It is also used in mercury-vapor lamps (which emit light rich in ultraviolet radiation). These lamps are typically used for street lighting, as sun lamps, and as UV lights (black lights). Various compounds of mercury are used in medicine, dentistry, cosmetics (mascara) and also in agriculture to make fungicides. Uses of Thallium Thallium sulfate, which is odorless and colorless, was used as a rat poison and as an insecticide. This use has been discontinued in some countries, including the USA. Thallium sulfide is used in photocells because its electrical conductivity increases on exposure to infrared light. Thallium oxide is used to make glass that has a high index of refraction. Thallium is also used in gamma radiation detection equipment. Uses of Lead

Large quantities of lead, both as the metal and as the dioxide, are used in storage batteries. Lead is also used in cable covering, as ammunition, as electrodes, in solder and as roofing material. The metal is used as shielding from radiation, e.g. in x-ray rooms and nuclear reactors. Lead oxide is also used in the manufacture of fine crystal glass. Historically, lead was used in plumbing. Tetraethyl lead was used as an anti-knock agent in petrol, and as an additive in paints. These uses have been reduced recently because of environmental concerns about cumulative lead poisoning. Uses of Bismuth Bismuth is used in medicine (bismuth subnitrate and subcarbonate), cosmetics (bismuth oxychloride), low-melting alloys, fire detection/extinguishing systems, replacement for lead in shot and bullets (bismuth-tin alloy). Uses of Polonium Polonium is used to eliminate static electricity produced during processes such as rolling paper, wire and sheet metal. However, beta decay sources are more commonly used as they are less dangerous. 210 Po can be used as an atomic heat source but because of the isotopes short half-life (138.4 days), it doesnt provide power for long-term uses. Polonium is also used in anti-static brushes to eliminate dust on photographic film. It is sealed in brushes to control the radioactive emissions. Uses of Astatine Astatine-211 is sometimes used as a radioactive tracer and in cancer treatment. Like iodine, it is known to accumulate in the thyroid gland. Uses of Radon Radon was used for treating cancer by radiotherapy. Safer treatments are now available. Uses of Francium Commercially, there are no uses for francium, due to its rarity and instability. It is used for research purposes only. Uses of Radium Radium was used in the production of luminous paints, but this is now considered too dangerous. Radium chloride was used medicinally to produce radon gas for cancer treatment. Safer treatments are now available. Uses of Actinium neutron production Uses of Thorium An exciting possibility for the future is fueling nuclear reactors with thorium. Not only is thorium more abundant on Earth than uranium, but 1 ton of mined thorium can produce as much energy as 200 tons of mined uranium. (8) The difference in the energy output of the two elements arises because most uranium mined is uranium-238, which is not fissile. (Naturally occurring uranium is over 99% uranium-238 with only about 0.7% of the fissile uranium-235.) Nearly all mined thorium, however, can easily be made into the fissile uranium isotope uranium-233 through neutron bombardment (as shown above). Waste from a thorium reactor is expected to lose its dangerous radioactivity after about 400-500 years, compared with many thousands of years for nuclear waste produced today. (8) Thorium fuel research is continuing in several countries including the USA and India. (9)

Most non-nuclear uses of thorium are driven by the unique properties of its oxide. Thorium dioxide was used in Welsbach gas mantles in the 19th century and today these mantles may still be found in camping lanterns. (Thorium dioxides very high melting point ensures it stays solid, glowing with an intense, bright white light at the temperature of the lanterns burning gas.) Thorium dioxide is used for heat resistant ceramics. Glass that contains thorium dioxide has a high refractive index and low dispersion, so thorium dioxide is added to glass for use in high quality lenses and scientific equipment. Thorium-magnesium alloys are used in the aerospace industry for aircraft engines. These alloys are lightweight and have excellent strength and creep resistance at high temperatures. Thorium is used to coat tungsten filaments in light bulbs. The demand for thorium in non-nuclear applications is decreasing because of environmental and health concerns due to its radioactivity. Uses of Protactinium Protactinium is used mainly for research purposes. Protactinium-231 combined with the thorium-230 can be used to date marine sediments. (6) Uses of Uranium Uranium is used as fuel for nuclear power plants. One kilogram of uranium-235 has the capacity to produce as much energy as 1,500,000 kilograms (1,500 tonnes) of coal. Naturally occurring uranium is over 99% U-238 with only about 0.7% of the fissile U-235. Huge gas diffusion plants are used to produce enriched uranium, which has higher concentrations of U235. Uranium for use in nuclear power plants is enriched to a U-235 concentration of 2-3%. In nuclear weapons, it is believed uranium is enriched to about 90% U-235, although lower concentrations would still yield a working bomb. Depleted uranium is a byproduct of enriching uranium for nuclear purposes. It contains about 0.2% U-235 and is about half as radioactive as naturally occurring uranium. Its lower radioactivity has allowed depleted uranium to be used in applications where uraniums very high density is useful. (A tennis ball sized sphere of uranium would weigh about 5.7 pounds (2.6 kilograms).) It is used by the military as shielding to protect army tanks, and also in parts of bullets and missiles. Use of depleted uranium in missiles is controversial because, on impact, uranium vapor and dust form and these are highly toxic. U-238 can be converted into fissionable plutonium in breeder reactors. Uses of Neptunium Neptunium is used mainly for research purposes. When bombarded with neutrons neptunium-237 is used to produce plutonium-238 which is used for spacecraft generators and terrestrial navigation beacons. Neptunium is also used in neutron detection equipment. Uses of Plutonium Plutonium-239, which can undergo nuclear chain reactions, is used in nuclear bombs and nuclear reactors Plutonium-238 is used as a long-lived heat and power source for space probes. (Its intrinsic heat output is approximately 0.5 watts per gram.) The Pioneer and Voyager space probes used plutonium-238 nuclear batteries as a power source.

Three radioisotope heater units (each containing 2.7 grams of plutonium-238 dioxide) were used as heat sources on the Pathfinder Mars robot lander. Each radioisotope heater unit produces about one watt of heat. (6), (7) Early pacemaker batteries also used tiny amounts of plutonium-238. The image on the left shows the decay of one atom of plutonium-238. This releases 5.6 million electron volts of energy. To get an idea of what this means, consider NASAs Curiosity Mars rover, which will be powered by 4.8 kg of plutonium dioxide. During its first 87.7 year half-life, the plutonium will produce about 4800 gigajoules of energy. To generate the same energy using natural gas (mainly methane) the Mars rover would need to carry about 86 metric tons of methane and 345 metric tons of oxygen. Uses of Americium Isotope 241Am is used (in the form of americium dioxide) in very small amounts in ionization chamber smoke detectors. One gram of americium dioxide provides enough active material for more than three million household smoke detectors(2). Americium is used as a portable source of gamma rays and alpha particles for use in medicine, science and industry. It is also used as a target material in nuclear research to make even heavier elements. Uses of Curium Curium is mainly used for scientific research purposes. Curium-244 was used in the Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) which measured the abundance of chemical elements in rocks and soils on Mars. Curium-244 is a strong alpha emitter and is being studied as a potential power source in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) for use in spacecraft and other remote applications. Uses of Berkelium Berkelium is of scientific research interest only. Berkelium-249 is used as a target material for the production of heavier actinides such as lawrencium-260. (4e) Uses of Californium Californium-252 (half-life of 2.645 years) is produced in nuclear reactors and has found a variety of uses. It is used as a neutron emitter, providing neutrons for the start-up of nuclear reactors. It has also been used as a target material for producing transcalifornium elements. Ununoctium, the heaviest of the elements, was produced when a californium target was bombarded with calcium ions. (2a) Californium-252 is used in to treat cervical cancer. It is also used to analyze the sulfur content of petroleum and in neutron moisture gauges to measure the moisture content of soil. (3)

Project in Science
Research on the uses of each element on the periodic table

Submitted by: Rennyvic P. Espina Submittedon: January 20,2014