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About Americium

Americium Bohr

Americium, a transuranic radioelement with a silvery white appearance and a density similar to lead, was discovered in 1944 at the Argonne National Laboratory by a team of scientists led by Glenn T. Seaborg. It was later synthesized at the University of California, Berkeley. The process of isolating americium from curium was so arduous that the researchers had taken to calling the elusive element "pandemonium". Americium occupies the spot below europium on the very last row of the periodic table, and was given its name as a result as of this association with the other element named after a continent.

Americium is the only synthetic element that has found a common consumer use: as the ionization source in commercial and residential smoke detectors. Additionally, americium is used as neutron source in neutron probes and neutron radiography and as a portable source of gamma rays and alpha particles in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. Americium is also a starting material for the production of other synthetic elements. Though americium is produced fairly routinely in nuclear reactors, the complexity of the separation procedures necessary to isolate it from other elements ensures that the supply of the pure element remains low, and the material remains quite expensive.

Americium Properties

Americium Bohr ModleAmericium is a Block F, Group 3, Period 7 element. The number of electrons in each of Americium's shells is 2, 8, 18, 32, 25, 8, 2 and its electron configuration is [Rn] 5f7 7s2. The americium atom has a radius of 173.pm and its Van der Waals radius is 244.pm. In its elemental form, CAS 7440-35-9, americium has a silvery white appearance. Americium was discovered by Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, Stanley G. Thompson and Albert Ghiorso in 1944. It was the fourth synthetic transuranic element to be discovered and was named after the continent of North America.

Americium is artificially produced in small quantities for research purposes and use in smoke detectors. Due to its radioactivity, americium is harmful. Americium information, including properties, research, applications and other useful facts are discussed below. Scientific facts such as the atomic structure, ionization energy, abundance on Earth, conductivity and thermal properties are included.

Symbol: Am
Atomic Number: 95
Atomic Weight: 243
Element Category: Actinide
Group, Period, Block: n/a, 7, f
Color: silvery white
Other Names: Americio
Melting Point: 1176 °C, 2148.8 °F, 1449.15 K
Boiling Point: 2011 °C, 3651.8 °F, 2284.15 K
Density: 13670 kg·m3
Liquid Density @ Melting Point: N/A
Density @ 20°C: 13.67 g/cm3
Density of Solid: 13780 kg·m3
Specific Heat: N/A
Superconductivity Temperature: 0.6 [or -272.5 °C (-458.5 °F)] K
Triple Point: N/A
Critical Point: N/A
Heat of Fusion (kJ·mol-1): 14.4
Heat of Vaporization (kJ·mol-1): 238.5
Heat of Atomization (kJ·mol-1): 266
Thermal Conductivity: 10 W·m-1·K-1
Thermal Expansion: N/A
Electrical Resistivity: 0.69 µΩ·m
Tensile Strength: N/A
Molar Heat Capacity: 62.7 J·mol-1·K-1
Young's Modulus: N/A
Shear Modulus: N/A
Bulk Modulus: N/A
Poisson Ratio: N/A
Mohs Hardness: N/A
Vickers Hardness: N/A
Brinell Hardness: N/A
Speed of Sound: N/A
Pauling Electronegativity: 1.3
Sanderson Electronegativity: N/A
Allred Rochow Electronegativity: 1.2
Mulliken-Jaffe Electronegativity: N/A
Allen Electronegativity: N/A
Pauling Electropositivity: 2.7
Reflectivity (%): N/A
Refractive Index: N/A
Electrons: 95
Protons: 95
Neutrons: 148
Electron Configuration: [Rn] 5f7 7s2
Atomic Radius: 173 pm
Atomic Radius,
non-bonded (Å):
2.44
Covalent Radius: 180±6 pm
Covalent Radius (Å): 1.73
Van der Waals Radius: 244 pm
Oxidation States: 6, 5, 4, 3, 0
Phase: Solid 
Crystal Structure: hexagonal
Magnetic Ordering: paramagnetic
Electron Affinity (kJ·mol-1) Unknown
1st Ionization Energy: 578 kJ·mol-1
2nd Ionization Energy: N/A
3rd Ionization Energy: N/A
CAS Number: 7440-35-9
EC Number: N/A
MDL Number: N/A
Beilstein Number: N/A
SMILES Identifier: [Am]
InChI Identifier: InChI=1S/Am
InChI Key: LXQXZNRPTYVCNG-UHFFFAOYSA-N
PubChem CID: 23966
ChemSpider ID: 22405
Earth - Total: N/A
Mercury - Total: N/A
Venus - Total: N/A
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by weight: N/A
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by atoms: N/A
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by weight: N/A
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by atoms: N/A
Sun - Total, ppb by weight: N/A
Sun - Total, ppb by atoms: N/A
Stream, ppb by weight: N/A
Stream, ppb by atoms: N/A
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by weight: N/A
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by atoms: N/A
Typical Human Body, ppb by weight: N/A
Typical Human Body, ppb by atom: N/A
Universe, ppb by weight: N/A
Universe, ppb by atom: N/A
Discovered By: Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, Leon O. Morgan, Albert Ghiorso
Discovery Date: 1944
First Isolation: N/A

Americium Isotopes

Americium is an artificial element. It has no stable isotopes.

Nuclide Isotopic Mass Half-Life Mode of Decay Nuclear Spin Magnetic Moment Binding Energy (MeV) Natural Abundance
(% by atom)
231Am 231.04556(32)# 30# s β+ to 231Pu; α to 227Np N/A N/A 1747.71301 -
232Am 232.04659(32)# 79(2) s β+ to 232Pu; α to 228Np N/A N/A 1754.824951 -
233Am 233.04635(11)# 3.2(8) min β+ to 233Pu; α to 229Np; SF N/A N/A 1763.0059813 -
234Am 234.04781(22)# 2.32(8) min β+ to 234Pu; α to 230Np; SF N/A N/A 1769.845947 -
235Am 235.04795(13)# 9.9(5) min β+ to 235Pu; α to 231Np 5/2-# N/A 1777.697998 -
236Am 236.04958(11)# 3.6(1) min β+ to 236Pu; α to 232Np N/A N/A 1784.334961 -
237Am 237.05000(6)# 73.0(10) min EC to 237Pu; α to 233Np 5/2(-) N/A 1792.032471 -
238Am 238.05198(5) 98(2) min EC to 238Pu; α to 234Np 1+ N/A 1798.234253 -
239Am 239.0530245(26) 11.9(1) h EC to 239Pu; α to 235Np (5/2)- N/A 1805.336182 -
240Am 240.055300(15) 50.8(3) h EC to 240Pu; α to 236Np (3-) N/A 1811.293579 -
241Am 241.0568291(20) 432.2(7) a α to 237Np; SF 5/2- 1.61 1817.935059 -
242Am 242.0595492(20) 16.02(2) h EC to 242Pu; β- to 242Cm 1- 0.388 1823.472534 -
243Am 243.0613811(25) 7,370(40) a α to 239Np; SF 5/2- 1.61 1829.8396 -
244Am 244.0642848(22) 10.1(1) h β- to 244Cm (6-)# N/A 1835.203247 -
245Am 245.066452(4) 2.05(1) h β- to 245Cm (5/2)+ N/A 1841.25708 -
246Am 246.069775(20) 39(3) min β- to 246Cm (7-) N/A 1846.23291 -
247Am 247.07209(11)# 23.0(13) min β- to 247Cm (5/2)# N/A 1852.145996 -
248Am 248.07575(22)# 3# min β- to 248Cm N/A N/A 1856.807983 -
249Am 249.07848(32)# 1# min β- to 249Cm N/A N/A 1862.332031 -
Americium Elemental Symbol

Recent Research & Development for Americium

  • Increased retention of americium in kidneys as compared with plutonium in an actinide wound contamination model in the rat. Griffiths NM, Coudert S, Molina T, Wilk JC, Renault D, Berard P, Van der Meeren A. Int J Radiat Biol. 2014 Nov
  • New insight into self-irradiation effects on local and long-range structure of uranium-americium mixed oxides (through XAS and XRD). Lebreton F, Martin PM, Horlait D, Bès R, Scheinost AC, Rossberg A, Delahaye T, Blanchart P. Inorg Chem. 2014 Sep 15
  • On the structure of thorium and americium adenosine triphosphate complexes. Mostapha S, Fontaine-Vive F, Berthon L, Boubals N, Zorz N, Solari PL, Charbonnel MC, Den Auwer C. Int J Radiat Biol. 2014 Nov
  • Aqueous complexes for efficient size-based separation of americium from curium. Jensen MP, Chiarizia R, Shkrob IA, Ulicki JS, Spindler BD, Murphy DJ, Hossain M, Roca-Sabio A, Platas-Iglesias C, de Blas A, Rodríguez-Blas T. Inorg Chem. 2014 Jun 16
  • Whole-body distribution of americium in rats for different pathways of intake. Doyle-Eisele M, Weber W, Melo DR, Guilmette RA. Int J Radiat Biol. 2014 Nov
  • Complexation of trivalent americium and lanthanides with terdentate 'N' donor ligands: the role of rigidity in the ligand structure. Bhattacharyya A, Gadly T, Pathak P, Ghosh SK, Mohapatra M, Ghanty TK, Mohapatra PK. Dalton Trans. 2014 Aug 28
  • Nano-cerium vanadate: a novel inorganic ion exchanger for removal of americium and uranium from simulated aqueous nuclear waste. Banerjee C, Dudwadkar N, Tripathi SC, Gandhi PM, Grover V, Kaushik CP, Tyagi AK. J Hazard Mater. 2014 Sep 15
  • Surface complexation modeling of americium sorption onto volcanic tuff. Ding M, Kelkar S, Meijer A. J Environ Radioact. 2014 Oct
  • Aqueous complexation of citrate with neodymium(III) and americium(III): a study by potentiometry, absorption spectrophotometry, microcalorimetry, and XAFS. Brown MA, Kropf AJ, Paulenova A, Gelis AV. Dalton Trans. 2014 May 7
  • Americium(iii) and europium(iii) complex formation with lactate at elevated temperatures studied by spectroscopy and quantum chemical calculations. Barkleit A, Kretzschmar J, Tsushima S, Acker M. Dalton Trans. 2014 Aug 7
  • Removal of americium from aqueous nitrate solutions by sorption onto PC88A-impregnated macroporous polymeric beads. Pathak SK, Tripathi SC, Singh KK, Mahtele AK, Kumar M, Gandhi PM. J Hazard Mater. 2014 Aug 15
  • Uncertainty induced by chest wall thickness assessment methods on lung activity estimation for plutonium and americium: a large population-based study. Broggio D, Lechaftois X, Franck D. J Radiol Prot. 2015 Mar
  • In situ characterization of uranium and americium oxide solid solution formation for CRMP process: first combination of in situ XRD and XANES measurements. Caisso M, Picart S, Belin RC, Lebreton F, Martin PM, Dardenne K, Rothe J, Neuville DR, Delahaye T, Ayral A. Dalton Trans. 2015 Mar 6.
  • Solution speciation of plutonium and Americium at an Australian legacy radioactive waste disposal site. Ikeda-Ohno A, Harrison JJ, Thiruvoth S, Wilsher K, Wong HK, Johansen MP, Waite TD, Payne TE. Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Sep 2
  • Decorporation of Systemically Distributed Americium by a Novel Orally Administered Diethylenetriaminepentaacetic Acid (DTPA) Formulation in Beagle Dogs. Wilson JP, Cobb RR, Dungan NW, Matthews LL, Eppler B, Aiello KV, Curtis S, Boger T, Guilmette RA, Weber W, Doyle-Eisele M, Talton JD. Health Phys. 2015 Mar
  • Ditopic CMPO-pillar[5]arenes as unique receptors for efficient separation of americium(iii) and europium(iii). Fang Y, Yuan X, Wu L, Peng Z, Feng W, Liu N, Xu D, Li S, Sengupta A, Mohapatra PK, Yuan L. Chem Commun (Camb). 2015 Feb 24
  • The design of a multisource americium-beryllium (Am-Be) neutron irradiation facility using MCNP for the neutronic performance calculation. Sogbadji RB, Abrefah RG, Nyarko BJ, Akaho EH, Odoi HC, Attakorah-Birinkorang S. Appl Radiat Isot. 2014 Aug
  • Americium(III) capture using phosphonic acid-functionalized silicas with different mesoporous morphologies: adsorption behavior study and mechanism investigation by EXAFS/XPS. Zhang W, He X, Ye G, Yi R, Chen J. Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Jun 17
  • Americium and plutonium separation by extraction chromatography for determination by accelerator mass spectrometry. Kazi ZH, Cornett JR, Zhao X, Kieser L. Anal Chim Acta. 2014 Jun 4
  • Absorption of americium compounds in the respiratory tract. Blanchardon E, Davesne E, Paquet F, Bailey M. Int J Radiat Biol. 2014 Nov