ATOMIC MASS: 238.02891 MELTING POINT: 1135 degrees Celsius BOILING POINT: 4135 degrees Celsius PROTONS: 92 What is uranium used for?
People have been using uranium for millennia. In ancient Rome and during the Middle Ages, it was used as a coloring agent in ceramic glazes and glass. It produced hues from orange-red to lemon-yellow. In modern times, it was used as an orange glaze in the Fiestaware brand of dishware but was later discontinued for health reasons. Today, uranium is mostly used for its unique nuclear properties. When in sufficient concentration, uranium’s many fissile isotopes can cause a nuclear chain reaction that generates heat in nuclear power reactors and produces the fissile material for nuclear weapons. Uranium has other uses besides nuclear power and weapons. Uranium is used in inertial guidance devices, in gyro compasses, as counterweights for aircraft control surfaces, as ballast for missile reentry vehicles, and as a shielding material. Uranium salts have also been used for producing yellow "Vaseline" glass and glazes.
Properties of Uranium
Pure uranium is a silvery white metal. It is weakly radioactive. Pure uranium metal is malleable, ductile, slightly paramagnetic, and strongly electropositive. It is a poor electrical conductor. It is harder than most other elements, though a little softer than steel, and has a very high density — about 70 percent denser than lead and slightly less dense than gold. Uranium is the heaviest naturally occurring element available in large quantities. Uranium metal has three crystallographic modifications: alpha, beta and gamma. Hydrochloric and nitric acids dissolve uranium metal, and non-oxidizing acids attack it slowly. It is unaffected by alkalis. Uranium reacts with almost all nonmetallic elements in their compounds, and reactivity increases with temperature. When...