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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 and its Van der Waals radius is 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):
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
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 ß+ to 231Pu; a to 227Np N/A N/A 1747.71301 -
232Am 232.04659(32)# 79(2) s ß+ to 232Pu; a to 228Np N/A N/A 1754.824951 -
233Am 233.04635(11)# 3.2(8) min ß+ to 233Pu; a to 229Np; SF N/A N/A 1763.0059813 -
234Am 234.04781(22)# 2.32(8) min ß+ to 234Pu; a to 230Np; SF N/A N/A 1769.845947 -
235Am 235.04795(13)# 9.9(5) min ß+ to 235Pu; a to 231Np 5/2-# N/A 1777.697998 -
236Am 236.04958(11)# 3.6(1) min ß+ to 236Pu; a to 232Np N/A N/A 1784.334961 -
237Am 237.05000(6)# 73.0(10) min EC to 237Pu; a to 233Np 5/2(-) N/A 1792.032471 -
238Am 238.05198(5) 98(2) min EC to 238Pu; a to 234Np 1+ N/A 1798.234253 -
239Am 239.0530245(26) 11.9(1) h EC to 239Pu; a to 235Np (5/2)- N/A 1805.336182 -
240Am 240.055300(15) 50.8(3) h EC to 240Pu; a to 236Np (3-) N/A 1811.293579 -
241Am 241.0568291(20) 432.2(7) a a to 237Np; SF 5/2- 1.61 1817.935059 -
242Am 242.0595492(20) 16.02(2) h EC to 242Pu; ß- to 242Cm 1- 0.388 1823.472534 -
243Am 243.0613811(25) 7,370(40) a a to 239Np; SF 5/2- 1.61 1829.8396 -
244Am 244.0642848(22) 10.1(1) h ß- to 244Cm (6-)# N/A 1835.203247 -
245Am 245.066452(4) 2.05(1) h ß- to 245Cm (5/2)+ N/A 1841.25708 -
246Am 246.069775(20) 39(3) min ß- to 246Cm (7-) N/A 1846.23291 -
247Am 247.07209(11)# 23.0(13) min ß- to 247Cm (5/2)# N/A 1852.145996 -
248Am 248.07575(22)# 3# min ß- to 248Cm N/A N/A 1856.807983 -
249Am 249.07848(32)# 1# min ß- to 249Cm N/A N/A 1862.332031 -
Americium Elemental Symbol

Recent Research & Development for Americium

  • Laboratory investigation of the role of desorption kinetics on americium transport associated with bentonite colloids. Dittrich TM, Boukhalfa H, Ware SD, Reimus PW. J Environ Radioact. 2015 Oct
  • Synthesis of functionalised BTPhen derivatives - effects on solubility and americium extraction. Higginson MA, Kyle ND, Marsden OJ, Thompson P, Livens FR, Heath SL. Dalton Trans. 2015 Sep 2.
  • 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 Apr 14
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 Mar 11
  • Magnetic polarization of the americium J=0 ground state in AmFe(2). Magnani N, Caciuffo R, Wilhelm F, Colineau E, Eloirdi R, Griveau JC, Rusz J, Oppeneer PM, Rogalev A, Lander GH. Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Mar 6
  • 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
  • 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
  • Surface complexation modeling of americium sorption onto volcanic tuff. Ding M, Kelkar S, Meijer A. J Environ Radioact. 2014 Oct