Logo for Penrhos College
Events Toggle Search box

Science Innovation Centre · 097 · Berkelium

This element is still available. Select an option below to secure it.

 

Click here to secure it now
Proceed to the donation page for this element.
Click here to pledge in instalments
Gifts may be pledged over a period of two to five years and made in as many split-payments.

 

Berkelium is a radioactive metallic element that is a member of the actinide group of elements. It is silvery in colour and its chemistry has been investigated to a limited extent and several compounds have been made. Berkelium metal is attacked by oxygen, steam and acids, but not by alkalis.

Berkelium was synthesized at and is named after the University of California, Berkeley.

The eighth member of the actinide transition series, berkelium was discovered in December 1949 by Thompson, Albert Ghiorso, and Glenn Seaborg, and was the fifth trans uranium element synthesized. It was produced by cyclotron bombardment of milligram amounts of 241Am with helium ions at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory. The first isotope produced had a mass of 243 and decayed with a half-life of 4.5 hours. Ten isotopes are now known and have been synthesized. The evidence of 249Bk with a half-life of 314 days, makes it feasible to isolate berkelium in weighable amounts so that its properties can be investigated with macroscopic quantities. One of the first visible amounts of a pure berkelium compound, berkelium chloride, was produced in 1962. It weighed 1 billionth of a gram. Berkelium probably has not yet been prepared in elemental form, but is expected to be a silvery metal, easily soluble in dilute mineral acids, and readily oxidized by air or oxygen at elevated temperatures to form the oxide. X-ray diffraction methods have been used to identify various compounds. As with other actinide elements, berkelium tends to accumulate in the skeletal system. Because of its rarity, berkelium presently has no commercial or technological use.

No practical use of berkelium has so far emerged.