Plutonium (Pu)

By Benjamin Patrushev

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Fun Facts

Plutonium is named after the dwarf planet Pluto because it was used for space missions to Pluto.

Plutonium is really toxic because it is radioactive and it is really explosive.

It is one of the most dangerous elements and can be harmful when it decays. If it gets into your body, there is a possibility of getting some sort of cancer.

History and Discovery

Plutonium was produced on December 1940 in Berkeley, California. It was produced by Glenn Seaborg, Arthur Wahl, Joseph Kennedy, and Edwin McMillan. Plutonium is a nuclear reactor to make atomic bombs and nuclear weapons. It was produced by attacking uranium-238 with alpha particles.

Glenn Seaborg


Physical Properties

Atomic Mass: 244

Atomic Radius in picometers (pm): 175pm

Density: 19.7

Melting Point: 640 C, 1184 F, 913 K

Boiling Point: 3228 C, 5842 F, 3501 K

At room temperature (22°C), this element is a: Solid

Appearance: Radioactive, silvery metal, crystal structure, has 4 different oxidation states

Conductivity: It is a conductor

Malleability: It is malleable

Chemical Properties

Flammability: It is not flammable.

Reactivity: It is highly reactive because it is used to make atomic bombs, extremely toxic, and reacts with oxygen/air

Atomic Structure/Location

Atomic Number: 94

Mass Number: 244

Protons: 94

Neutrons: 150

Electrons: 94

Location on the Periodic Table:

Group Actinides, period 7, block f

Plutonium's Uses

Plutonium is a nuclear reactor used in nuclear bombs. It is created also for nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Plutonium was used in space missions to Pluto. One bit of plutonium is really explosive. It was stored in atomic bombs including the one on the right which was called a fat man.

Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki


Plutonium has many isotopes but the key isotopes are Pu-238, Pu-239, Pu-240. Pu-239 is a nuclear reactor for nuclear bombs. Pu-238 is used as a heat source for space rovers and generators. Pu-240 is when plutonium is in the solid state as a solid.


Plutonium is included in many compounds but are not important. The compounds do not have a lot of uses. The compounds consists of hydrides, flourides, chlorides, bromides, iodides, oxides, sulfides, selenides, and nitrides.

Sources Used