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Topic: Superheavy elements  (Read 10635 times)

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Nomel

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Superheavy elements
« on: February 17, 2005, 08:53:40 AM »
Superheavy (Z=104+) elements are an entirely new subject to me and I would like to learn as much as possible about them.  What are the best resources to do so?  Specific sites, books, tips, experiences, knowledge, etc. will be appreciated.  General info would be good, but I would (eventually) like to get in-depth on the topic.  I am curious about their chemistry, interaction/reaction, potential uses, etc.

Thanks

Offline jdurg

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Re:Superheavy elements
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2005, 11:07:18 AM »
Superheavy elements are simply scientific curiosities and nothing else.  They have no defined chemistry since no more than maybe one or two atoms of each of them have ever existed at one time.  The only reason they even exist is so that people can say 'I made/discovered this element'.  They have half-lives that are mere microseconds in length, and maybe a second or two if you're really lucky.  No visible samples have ever been created of them, nor have any compounds of them ever been made.  The only reason we know they existed is because of the evidence they left behind when they decayed.  Their existance and why they were created is akin to a competition amongst billionaires over who has the most expensive antique toothbrush.  The only people who really care are those directly involved in it while the results of this 'competition' bear no impact on the rest of the world.   ;D
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Offline Mitch

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Re:Superheavy elements
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2005, 01:44:17 PM »
I work with the heavy elements.

104 has a half-life of over a minute. And chelation of some of the heavy elements with organic molecules has been done. My project will most likely be, to further the Chemistry of some of the Heavy Elements.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2005, 01:46:49 PM by Mitch »
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Offline jdurg

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Re:Superheavy elements
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2005, 02:18:37 PM »
I work with the heavy elements.

104 has a half-life of over a minute. And chelation of some of the heavy elements with organic molecules has been done. My project will most likely be, to further the Chemistry of some of the Heavy Elements.

Cool!  I was not aware of that.  
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Nomel

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Re:Superheavy elements
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2005, 12:43:50 PM »
So why is studying SHE's important?  What can they tell us and how can they do this?

Offline Mitch

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Re:Superheavy elements
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2005, 12:54:02 PM »
One aspect of interest with SHEs is simply their Chemistry. Since they have a huge positive nucleus the 1s electrons should be orbiting at a significant fraction of the speed of light. This will cause drastic changes in it's electron shells; most prominantly the s-p shell should be contracted and d-f shell should be expanded.

Also, because of these effects it is not known whether 112 will act like Mercury or more like Radon. Preliminary, and unconfirmed evidence from Germany says that 112 has significant Radon properties.

The unique opportunity with SHE chemistry at the moment, is simply to do it because it has not been done yet. Also, the methods and techniques to further study their Chemistry is still being developed, and its simply interesting onto itself to be at the ground floor of this Chemistry.
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Offline Elgon

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Re:Superheavy elements
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2005, 01:23:33 PM »
So why are people interested in studying these heavy elements?

Because it gives the scientist a change to test the theories on electronic structure and binding at the limits of the periodic table. By studying the chemical properties of these elements the chemists are able to place them in the periodic table and can see if our current understanding of the trends governing the periodic table holds up.
One of the reasons is that they would like to learn more about so called relativistic effects. Mitch has already mentioned them. These effects increase with the square of the proton number and are therefore more pronounced in heavier elements. But some of the effects can already be seen in lighter elements. Relativistic effects cause the yellow color of gold and are the reason that mercury is liquid.

Currently heavy elements up to element 108, hassium, have been studied chemically in the gas-phase and up to element 106, seaborgium, in solution. These elements are referred to as the transactinide elements. The expression super-heavy elements is commonly used to describe elements close to the potential island of stability around element 114 (or element 126, depending on which theorist you believe.)  

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Re:Superheavy elements
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2005, 05:44:50 PM »
Yeah, that's right. Hopefully we'll be able to prove an island of relative stability around element 126. There is a little stability around element 114, but not much.

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Offline Elgon

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Re:Superheavy elements
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2005, 06:01:24 PM »
Yeah, that's right. Hopefully we'll be able to prove an island of relative stability around element 126. There is a little stability around element 114, but not much.

Pierre

I guess that depends on what you consider a "little bit" of stability. The most recent claims of a Russian-American collaboration for the discovery of element 114, 115, 116 and 118 show that these elements should half-lives of several seconds. They even found an isotope of element 105 with a half-live of several hours as a decay product of these elements. That would already mean an enormous increase in stability and give new opportunities to study their chemistry. But of course these elements can only be produced at extremely low rates and the claims need to be confirmed first.

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