The Element Thallium
Atomic Number: 81
Atomic Weight: 204.3833
Melting Point: 577 K (304°C or 579°F)
Boiling Point: 1746 K (1473°C or 2683°F)
Density: 11.8 grams per cubic centimeter
Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
Element Classification: Metal
Period Number: 6
Group Number: 13
Group Name: none
What's in a name? From the Greek word for a green shoot or twig, thallos.
Say what? Thallium is pronounced as THAL-ee-em.
History and Uses:
Thallium was discovered spectroscopically by Sir William Crookes, an English chemist, in 1861. Crooks had obtained the sludge left over from the production of sulfuric acid (H2SO4) from a friend. After removing all of the selenium from the sludge, he inspected it with a device known as a spectroscope to look for signs of tellurium. Rather than seeing the yellow spectral lines produced by tellurium, he observed a bright green line that no one had ever seen before. He named the new element that was producing the green line thallium, after the greek word for 'green twig', thallos. He isolated samples of thallium the next year. Thallium is found in the minerals crooksite (CuThSe), lorandite (TlAsS2) and hutchinsonite ((Pb, Tl)2As5S9), but is usually obtained as a byproduct of the production of sulfuric acid or as a byproduct of refining zinc or lead.
There are no uses for metallic thallium since pure thallium quickly combines with oxygen and water vapor from the atmosphere, forming a black, powdery substance. Thallium, used in conjunction with sulfur or selenium and arsenic, forms low melting glass. Thallium sulfate (Tl2SO4), an odorless, tasteless thallium compound, was once used as a rat and ant poison, although it has been banned from household use in the United States since 1974. Thallium sulfide (Tl2S), thallium iodide (TlI) and thallium bromide (TlBr) are all compounds used in devices to detect infrared radiation.
Estimated Crustal Abundance: 8.5×10-1 milligrams per kilogram
Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 1.9×10-5 milligrams per liter
Number of Stable Isotopes: 2 (View all isotope data)
Ionization Energy: 6.108 eV
Oxidation States: +3, +1
3s2 3p6 3d10
4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14
5s2 5p6 5d10