What Is Uranium Used For?

Uranium is a radioactive, silvery-grey metal. On the periodic table, it is the ninety-second element. It’s a radioactive element with a half-life ranging from 159,200 to 4.5 billion years.

The most frequent naturally occurring uranium isotopes are uranium 235 and uranium-238, which account for 99 percent of all uranium in the world. Uranium has a 70 percent greater atomic weight than lead and lowers atomic weight than tungsten and gold.

When Was Uranium Discovered?

In 1789, while working in his laboratory in Germany, Martin Klaproth discovered this element. By melting uraninite in nitric acid, Martin precipitated sodium-diuranate (yellow chemical). He added sodium-hydroxide to neutralize the mixture.

Martin believed the yellow substance was an oxide of an unknown metal, so he burned it to extract a black powder. Martin extracted a black powder that was uranium oxide. Martin came to the conclusion that the black powder was a recently found metal that he called Uranus after.

When Peugeot Eugene heated uranium-tetrachloride with potassium in 1841, he became the first person to isolate uranium.

When Becquerel Henri placed a potassium uranyl-sulfate on a photographic plate in a drawer in 1896, he discovered radioactivity. Henri saw the plate fogged up and deduced that uranium released certain rays that harmed the plate.

Uranium’s Uses

Production of Energy

Uranium is a crucial element of nuclear power reactors that produce energy. A kilogram of Uranium-235 yields over 20terajoules of energy in theory.

The majority of nuclear power reactors use uranium-enriched fuel with a 3 percent uranium-235 content. Various nuclear-absorbing materials regulate the chemical process. Uranium-235 produces steam, which rotates turbines in a power plant, generating electricity.

In a breeder reactor, uranium-238 decays quickly to plutonium-239. Chemical processes may be sustained by Plutonium-239. Uranium-235 is the only naturally occurring isotope capable of maintaining a reaction.

Uranium is used by the military.

This element may be utilized to make high-density penetrators in the military (ammunition). The penetrators are made of depleted uranium (DU), which is alloyed with 2% of other minerals such as molybdenum and titanium.

This ammunition can obliterate a strongly armored target at fast speeds. The DU plates help strengthen removable vehicle armors and tank armors.

The DU is also used in the shielding materials of different radioactive material transport and storage containers.

Despite the fact that the DU is radioactive, its hardness allows it to effectively resist the radiation from a variety of powerful radioactive elements. Because of its ease of casting and inexpensive cost, DU is favored over other thick materials.

Uranium can be used for other things as well.

This metal has been utilized since 79CE when it was employed in the glazing business.

Uranium is utilized in the production of dyes and stains for the wood and leather industries, as well as photography chemicals and filament for stage lighting bulbs.

Wool and silk dye fixatives are uranium salts. The discovery of radioactivity gave uranium a whole new meaning in science.

The lengthy half-life of uranium-238 isotopes allowed scientists to determine an igneous rock’s age.

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