The Element Curium
Atomic Number: 96
Atomic Weight: 247
Melting Point: 1618 K (1345°C or 2453°F)
Boiling Point: ~3400 K (~3100°C or ~5600°F)
Density: 13.51 grams per cubic centimeter
Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
Element Classification: Metal
Period Number: 7
Group Number: none
Group Name: Actinide
Special Notes: Radioactive and Artificially Produced
What's in a name? Named after the scientists Pierre and Marie Curie.
Say what? Curium is pronounced as KYOOR-ee-em.
History and Uses:
Curium was first produced by Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James and Albert Ghiorso, working at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1944. They bombarded atoms of plutonium-239, an isotope of plutonium, with alpha particles that had been accelerated in a device called a cyclotron. This produced atoms of curium-242 and one free neutron. Curium-242 has a half-life of about 163 days and decays into plutonium-238 through alpha decay or decays through spontaneous fission.
Since only milligram amounts of curium have ever been produced, there are currently no commercial applications for it, although it might be used in radioisotope thermoelectric generators in the future. Curium is primarily used for basic scientific research.
Scientists have produced several curium compounds. They include: curium dioxide (CmO2), curium trioxide (Cm2O3), curium bromide (CmBr3), curium chloride (CmCl3), curium chloride (CmCl3), curium tetrafluoride (CmF4) and curium iodide (CmI3). As with the element, the compounds currently have no commercial applications and are primarily used for basic scientific research.
Estimated Crustal Abundance: Not Applicable
Estimated Oceanic Abundance: Not Applicable
Number of Stable Isotopes: 0 (View all isotope data)
Ionization Energy: 6.02 eV
Oxidation States: +3
3s2 3p6 3d10
4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14
5s2 5p6 5d10 5f7
6s2 6p6 6d1