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Boron (B)

Boron

History

Boron is a non-metallic element which occurs in several allotropes. It is rarely found in nature, normally occurring as borates or orthoboric acid (the abundance of boron in the earth's crust is 10 ppm, the principal ore being borax, Na2B4O7.xH2O). Amorphous boron is the more common allotrope and exists as a dark powder which is unreactive towards water, oxygen, acids and alkalis. Boron finds importance within nuclear reactors due to its neutron absorbing capabilities, boron steel being used as control rod material. Boron compounds are used for a number of applications including the manufacture of certain grades of glass and detergents.

Did you know?

  1. Discovered in 1808 by L.J. Lussac and L.J. Thenard (in Paris) and Sir Humphrey Davy (in London).
  2. Boron will react directly with most metals to produce metal borides which are hard, inert binary compounds of various formulae and arrangements of the boron atoms. For example, as single atoms (M2B), pairs (M3B2), single and double chains (MB, M3B4), sheets (MB2), B6 octahedra (MB6) and B12 clusters (MB12).
  3. Boron is essential for the cell walls of plants. It is not considered poisonous to animals, but in higher doses it can upset the body’s metabolism. We take in about 2 milligrams of boron each day from our food, and about 60 grams in a lifetime. Some boron compounds are being studied as a possible treatment for brain tumours.
  • Atomic Properties
    Atomic number 5
    Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.097
    Atomic weight ( amu ) 10.81
    Crystal structure Tetragonal
    Electronic structure He 2s2 2p1
    Ionisation potential No. eV
    1 8.30
    2 25.2
    3 37.9
    4 259
    5 340
    Natural isotope distribution Mass No. %
    10 19.8
    11 80.2
    Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 4.5
    Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 672
    Valences shown 3
  • Electrical Properties
    Electrical resistivity @27C ( µOhmcm ) 1.8x1012
  • Mechanical Properties
    Material condition Arc melted
    Hardness - Mohs 9.5
    Tensile modulus ( GPa ) 441
    Tensile strength ( MPa ) 1580-2410
  • Physical Properties
    Boiling point ( C ) 3700
    Density @20C ( g cm-3 ) 2.34-2.37
    Melting point ( C ) 2180
  • Thermal Properties
    Coefficient of thermal expansion @0-100C ( x10-6 K-1 ) 8.3
    Latent heat of evaporation ( J g-1 ) 35000
    Latent heat of fusion ( J g-1 ) 2090
    Specific heat @25C ( J K-1 kg-1 ) 1030

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Silicon (Si)

Silicon

About

Silica (SiO2) in the form of sharp flints were among the first tools made by humans. The ancient civilizations used other forms of silica such as rock crystal, and knew how to turn sand into glass. Considering silicon’s abundance, it is somewhat surprising that it aroused little curiosity among early chemists.

Attempts to reduce silica to its components by electrolysis had failed. In 1811, Joseph Gay Lussac and Louis Jacques Thénard reacted silicon tetrachloride with potassium metal and produced some very impure form of silicon. The credit for discovering silicon really goes to the Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius of Stockholm who, in 1824, obtained silicon by heating potassium fluorosilicate with potassium. The product was contaminated with potassium silicide, but he removed this by stirring it with water, with which it reacts, and thereby obtained relatively pure silicon powder.

Did you know?

  1. After carbon, silcon is the most abundant element on earth, the abundance being 277,000 ppm. It is generally present as a silicate, these being found in many rocks, clays and soils.
  2. Silicon is obtained by reducing silica (sand, SiO2), with carbon. Further purification of the element for applications requiring high purity material (e.g. semi conductor devices) is achieved by zone refining, the resulting purity being better than 1:109. Silicon exists in two allotropic forms; brown silicon is a powder, whereas crystalline (metallic) silicon is grey and it is the latter which is more widely used. Bulk silicon is unreactive towards oxygen, water, acids (excluding HF), but is soluble in hot alkalis.
  3. Silicon has many applications in various industries; for example, ultra high purity silicon is used in the semiconductor industry as a result of its semiconducting properties. Silicon is also used as an alloying element in the manufacture of certain alloys (e.g. ferrosilicon, an alloy of iron and silicon which is used to introduce silicon into steel and cast iron). It is also used in the manufacture of glass.
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University of Florida Develops Silicone 3D Printing Process for Better Medical Implants

A major advance in the medical industry has been the 3D printing of silicone, a fairly recent development. 3D printed silicone has recently begun to encompass a whole range of medical implants, and researchers at the University of Florida recently revealed a new 3D printing method that they have developed.


Read More Here >>
  • Atomic Properties
    Atomic number 14
    Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.117
    Atomic weight ( amu ) 28.0855
    Crystal structure Diamond
    Electronic structure Ne 3s2 3p2
    Ionisation potential No. eV
    1 8.15
    2 16.3
    3 33.5
    4 45.1
    5 167
    6 205
    Natural isotope distribution Mass No. %
    28 92.23
    29 4.67
    30 3.10
    Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 4.2
    Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 0.16
    Valences shown 4
  • Electrical Properties
    Electrical resistivity @20C ( µOhmcm ) 23 x 101O
    Thermal emf against Pt (cold 0C - hot 100C) ( mV ) -41.56
  • Mechanical Properties
    Material condition Polycrystalline
    Bulk modulus ( GPa ) 100
    Hardness - Mohs 7.0
    Poisson's ratio 0.42
    Tensile modulus ( GPa ) 113
  • Physical Properties
    Boiling point ( C ) 2355
    Density @20C ( g cm-3 ) 2.34
    Melting point ( C ) 1410
  • Thermal Properties
    Coefficient of thermal expansion @0-100C ( x10-6 K-1 ) 4.7-7.6
    Latent heat of evaporation ( J g-1 ) 13700
    Latent heat of fusion ( J g-1 ) 1650
    Specific heat @25C ( J K-1 kg-1 ) 703
    Thermal conductivity @0-100C ( W m-1 K-1 ) 80-150

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Germanium (Ge)

Germanium

History

Germanium is a discovered in 1886 by C.A. Winkler at Freiberg, Germany.

Germanium is a silvery white brittle metalloid member of the carbon group of elements, its physical properties being similar to those of silicon, the element which precedes it in the group. Other elements within the carbon group are relatively common, but germanium is found only in trace amounts in some coals and as a minor component in some ores, the principle one being argyrodite, a double sulphide of silver and germanium (the mineral from which germanium was first isolated).

It has an abundance within the Earth's crust of 1.8 ppm and the element is produced by reduction of the oxide, ultra-high purity material being obtained by zone refining (a process in which the element is formed into a rod which is then heated at one end to produce a narrow molten zone. The heater is moved along the length of the rod so that the molten zone travels from one end of the rod to the other. Impurities are more soluble in the molten metal than in the solid and thus concentrate in the liquid zone as it moves to one end of the rod).

Did you know?

  1. Germanium is stable in air and water and is unaffected by alkalis and acids, with the exception of nitric acid. It is a poor conductor of electricity but has exceptional properties as a semiconductor material and it is in this area where germanium is primarily used.
  2. Other applications for the material include its use as an alloying element in the production of specific alloys and as an addition to glass in the manufacture of infrared devices.
  3. Germanium oxide has a high index of refraction and dispersion. This makes it suitable for use in wide-angle camera lenses and objective lenses for microscopes. This is now the major use for this element.
  • Atomic Properties
    Atomic number 32
    Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.139
    Atomic weight ( amu ) 72.59
    Crystal structure Diamond
    Electronic structure Ar 3d1O 4s2 4p2
    Ionisation potential No. eV
    1 7.90
    2 15.93
    3 34.22
    4 45.7
    5 93.5
    Natural isotope distribution Mass No. %
    70 20.5
    72 27.4
    73 7.8
    74 36.5
    76 7.8
    Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 4.8
    Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 2.3
    Valences shown 2, 4
  • Electrical Properties
    Electrical resistivity @22C ( µOhmcm ) 46x106
    Thermal emf against Pt (cold 0C - hot 100C) ( mV ) +33.9
  • Mechanical Properties
    Material condition Polycrystalline
    Bulk modulus ( GPa ) 73.9
    Hardness - Mohs 6.25
    Poisson's ratio 0.32 0.32
    Tensile modulus ( GPa ) 79.9 79.9
  • Physical Properties
    Boiling point ( C ) 2830
    Density @20C ( g cm-3 ) 5.32
    Melting point ( C ) 937.4
  • Thermal Properties
    Coefficient of thermal expansion @0-100C ( x10-6 K-1 ) 5.75
    Latent heat of evaporation ( J g-1 ) 4516
    Latent heat of fusion ( J g-1 ) 465
    Specific heat @25C ( J K-1 kg-1 ) 322
    Thermal conductivity @0-100C ( W m-1 K-1 ) 60.2
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Arsenic (As)

Arsenic

History

Arsenic was discovered in the 13th. century by Albertus Magnus (although believed to have been used much earlier as an alloying addition to bronze to provide a lustrous finish).

Arsenic is found in several allotropic forms and has both metallic and non-metallic properties. The grey metallic allotrope is a brittle, crystalline solid which tarnishes readily in air and burns in oxygen. It is resistant to attack by dilute acids and alkalis, but will react with hot acids and molten NaOH.

Did you know?

  1. Arsenic is poisonous (it is thought to have been responsible for the death of Napoleon) and occurs both free and combined in many minerals (Arsenic has an abundance within the earth's crust of 1.5 ppm).
  2. Applications for grey arsenic include its use as an alloying element, its use in the manufacture of certain types of glass and as a donor impurity in germanium semiconductor devices.
  3. The non-metallic allotropes include yellow arsenic (may be formed by rapid condensation of Arsenic vapour in an inert atmosphere) and black arsenic (may be formed by slow condensation of the vapour in an inert atmosphere).
  • Atomic Properties
    Atomic number 33
    Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.125
    Atomic weight ( amu ) 74.9216
    Crystal structure Rhombohedral
    Electronic structure Ar 3d1O 4s2 4p3
    Ionisation potential No. eV
    1 9.81
    2 18.6
    3 28.4
    4 50.1
    5 62.6
    6 128
    Natural isotope distribution Mass No. %
    75 100
    Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 5.1
    Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 4.3
    Valences shown -3, 0, 3, 5
  • Electrical Properties
    Electrical resistivity @20C ( µOhmcm ) 33.3
  • Mechanical Properties
    Material condition Polycrystalline
    Bulk modulus ( GPa ) 22.0
    Hardness - Vickers 57-69
  • Physical Properties
    Boiling point ( C ) 616
    Density @20C ( g cm-3 ) 5.73
    Melting point ( C ) Sublimes >300
  • Thermal Properties
    Coefficient of thermal expansion @0-100C ( x10-6 K-1 ) 5.6
    Latent heat of fusion ( J g-1 ) 370
    Specific heat @25C ( J K-1 kg-1 ) 328
    Thermal conductivity @0-100C ( W m-1 K-1 ) 50.2

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Antimony (Sb)

Antimony

History

Antimony was discovered in 1450. Elemental antimony is generally found in one of two allotropes and has both metallic and non-metallic properties. The main source of this element is Stibnite (Sb2S3), an ore which whilst being widely distributed is not very plentiful (hence the abundance of only 0.2 ppm of antimony within the earth's crust).

Antimony is a relatively stable element and is not attacked by dilute acids or alkalis. It is a poor electrical and thermal conductor. High purity antimony is used in the semiconductor industry.

Did you know?

  1. China produces 88% of the world’s antimony. Other producers are Bolivia, Russia and Tajikistan
  2. It is alloyed with lead or other metals to improve their hardness and strength. A lead-antimony alloy is used in batteries. Other uses of antimony alloys include type metal (in printing presses), bullets and cable sheathing.
  3. Antimony became widely used in Medieval times, mainly to harden lead for type, although some was taken medicinally as a laxative pill which could be reclaimed and re-used!
  • Atomic Properties
    Atomic number 51
    Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.161
    Atomic weight ( amu ) 121.75
    Crystal structure Rhombohedral
    Electronic structure Kr 4d1O 5s2 5p3
    Ionisation potential No. eV
    1 8.64
    2 16.53
    3 25.3
    4 44.2
    5 56.0
    6 108
    Natural isotope distribution Mass No. %
    121 57.3
    123 42.7
    Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 4.1
    Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 5.0
    Valences shown -3, 0, 3, 5
  • Electrical Properties
    Electrical resistivity @20C ( µOhmcm ) 40.1
    Temperature coefficient @0-100C ( K-1 ) 0.0051
    Thermal emf against Pt (cold 0C - hot 100C) ( mV ) +4.89
  • Mechanical Properties
    Material condition Polycrystalline
    Bulk modulus ( GPa ) 42
    Hardness - Mohs 3.0-3.3
    Poisson's ratio 0.25-0.33
    Tensile modulus ( GPa ) 54.7
  • Physical Properties
    Boiling point ( C ) 1750
    Density @20C ( g cm-3 ) 6.68
    Melting point ( C ) 630.7
  • Thermal Properties
    Coefficient of thermal expansion @0-100C ( x10-6 K-1 ) 9.0
    Latent heat of evaporation ( J g-1 ) 1370
    Latent heat of fusion ( J g-1 ) 163
    Specific heat @25C ( J K-1 kg-1 ) 205
    Thermal conductivity @0-100C ( W m-1 K-1 ) 24.4

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Tellurium (Te)

Tellurium

History

Tellurium is a rare, silvery-white, semi-metallic element which exhibits both metallic and non-metallic traits and has an abundance of 0.005 ppm in the earth's crust.

Tellurium has p-type semiconductor properties and, hence, is used in the electronics industry. The metal is used in the refining of zinc where it eliminates cobalt from the process. Other metallurgical applications include its use as an alloying element with, for example copper and stainless steel, the resulting alloys having improved machineability.

Did you know?

  1. Tellurium was discovered in 1783 by Baron Franz Josef Müller von Reichenstein in Sibiu, Roumania.
  2. Contact with either the pure metal or its compounds is to be avoided as they are not only toxic, but inhalation of the vapours leads to unpleasant body odours!
  3. It exists in only one form, whereas the other members of the oxygen group of elements in the periodic table all exhibit at least two allotropic forms. It is generally found in combination with other elements, and can be isolated from the fine dusts of telluride gold ores. Tellurium will burn in air and oxygen, is unaffected by water or HCl, but is soluble in HNO3.
  • Atomic Properties
    Atomic number 52
    Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.143
    Atomic weight ( amu ) 127.60
    Crystal structure Hexagonal
    Electronic structure Kr 4d1O 5s2 5p4
    Ionisation potential No. eV
    1 9.01
    2 18.6
    3 28.0
    4 37.4
    5 58.8
    6 70.7
    Natural isotope distribution Mass No. %
    120 0.1
    122 2.5
    123 0.9
    124 4.6
    125 7.0
    126 18.7
    128 31.7
    130 34.5
    Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 4.8
    Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 4.7
    Valences shown 2, 4, 6
  • Electrical Properties
    Electrical resistivity @0C ( µOhmcm ) 1.6x105
  • Mechanical Properties
    Material condition Polycrystalline
    Bulk modulus ( GPa ) 31.4
    Hardness - Mohs 2.3
    Poisson's ratio 0.16-0.3
    Tensile modulus ( GPa ) 47.1
  • Physical Properties
    Boiling point ( C ) 990
    Density @20C ( g cm-3 ) 6.25
    Melting point ( C ) 450
  • Thermal Properties
    Coefficient of thermal expansion @0-100C ( x10-6 K-1 ) 16.75
    Latent heat of evaporation ( J g-1 ) 820
    Latent heat of fusion ( J g-1 ) 138
    Specific heat @25C ( J K-1 kg-1 ) 201
    Thermal conductivity @0-100C ( W m-1 K-1 ) 3.3

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Polonium (Po)

Polonium

History

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, Uranium ores contain minute traces of polonium at levels of parts per billion. Despite this, in 1898 Marie Curie and husband Pierre Curie extracted some from pitchblende (uranium oxide, U3O8) after months of painstaking work. The existence of this element had been forecast by the Mendeleev who could see from his periodic table that there might well be the element that followed Bismuth and he predicted it would have an atomic weight of 212. The Curies had extracted the isotope polonium-209 and which has a half-life of 103 years.

Did you know?

  1. Before the advent of nuclear reactors, the only source of polonium was uranium ore but that did not prevent its being separated and used in anti-static devices. These relied on the alpha particles that polonium emits to neutralise electric charge.
  2. Polonium is an alpha-emitter, and is used as an alpha-particle source in the form of a thin film on a stainless-steel disc. These are used in antistatic devices and for research purposes.
  3. A single gram of polonium will reach a temperature of 500°C as a result of the alpha radiation emitted. This makes it useful as a source of heat for space equipment.
  • Atomic Properties
    Atomic number 84
    Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.14
    Atomic weight ( amu ) (209)
    Electronic structure Xe 4f14 5d1O 6s2 p4
    Ionisation potential No. eV
    1 8.42
    Valences shown 2, 4
  • Physical Properties
    Boiling point ( C ) 962
    Density @27C ( g cm-3 ) 9.4
    Melting point ( C ) 254
  • Thermal Properties
    Latent heat of evaporation ( J g-1 ) 574
    Latent heat of fusion ( J g-1 ) 62.2