Rutherfordium was discovered in 1964 and resynthesized in 1969. It is an artificially prepared radioactive element. Due to its instability, it has no major commercial use, only used in laboratories for certain research purposes.
History and Discovery
Rutherfordium is a synthetic element. It was synthesized for the first time in 1964 by the team of scientists at Dubna, Russia, which was led by Georgy Flerov. They bombarded plutonium with neon ions. The scientist thought that they found isotope-259. This discovery was not accepted and resynthesized in 1966, but they confirmed the 1964 results. The Dubna researchers suggested the name kurchatovium (ku) after Igor Kurchatov, Russian nuclear physicist. In 1969, University of California, Berkeley led by Albert Ghiorso successfully synthesized rutherfordium through bombarding a californium target with carbon-12 and carbon-13 ions. They named the element rutherfordium after Earnest Rutherford, father of nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry .
|Periodic Table Classification||Group 4
|State at 20C||Solid (predicted)|
|Electron Configuration||[Rn] 5f14 6d2 7s2|
|Electron Shell||2, 8, 18, 32, 32, 10, 2|
|Density||23.20 g.cm-3 at 20°C (predicted)|
|Atomic Mass||261.00 g.mol -1|
|Electronegativity according to Pauling||n/a|
Rutherfordium is not naturally present in the earth’s crust. It is prepared by bombardment and decay of heavy isotopes. Mostly made by bombarding plutonium-242 with accelerated neon ions and sometime bombarding californium-249 with carbon ions.
Rutherfordium is solid under normal condition. It isa very heavy element and has a high density of about 23.2 g/cm3. Its melting point is very high, about 2100oC. Boiling point of rutherfordium is also very high, 5500oC. Its chemical symbol is Rf and the atomic number is 104. Its atomic weight is 267 g/mol .
Rutherfordium is a synthetic and highly reactive element. It is the first transactinide element (super heavy). Its chemical properties resemble with elements of group 4 in the periodic table especially Hafnium (Hf). Rutherfordium most stable oxidation state is +4 but it is expected to be able to form less stable compounds at +3 oxidation state. Rutherfordium reacts with halogens to form tetrahalides RfX4, they hydrolyzed when contact with water and form oxyhalides RfOX2. Tetrahalides are volatile solids and they exist in vapor phase as monomeric tetrahalides molecules.
Significance and Uses
- Rutherfordium is artificially prepared in the laboratory that is why it has no commercial use.
- It is used in laboratories for some research purpose.
- It is highly reactive so it is used for nuclear power and some medicinal purpose.
Rutherfordium is a very unstable element. It has an extremely short half-life. That’s why still there is no known effect on human health.
Isotopes of Rutherfordium
Rutherfordium has no stable isotopes, the isotopes are also not naturally occurring. Radioactive isotopes of rutherfordium have been synthesized in the laboratory by fusing two elements and through decay of heavier elements. Lighter isotopes like 253Rf and 254Rf have shorter half-life about 50µs.256Rf and 258Rf and 260Rf are stable around 10 ms. While, 255Rf, 257Rf, 259Rf and 262Rf have half-life between 1 and 5 seconds. 261Rf have 1 minute, 265Rf have 1.5 minutes and 263Rf have 10 minutes half-life respectively. Heaviest isotope 267Rf have half -life of about 1.3 hours .
. Sonzogni, Alejandro. “Interactive Chart of Nuclides”. National Nuclear Data Center: Brookhaven National Laboratory. Retrieved 2008-06-06.