Difference Between Uranium and Plutonium (With Table)

Uranium and plutonium are two different types of elements that are a part of the modern periodic table. Both of these elements are used for similar purposes and are hence confused with being the same. Both these elements have different properties from one another. They have different radioactive nature, half-life, boiling points, occurrence, atomic number, symbol, etc.

Uranium vs Plutonium

The difference between uranium and plutonium is that uranium can be obtained in natural form from mines in the form of ores which are later purified. Plutonium, on the other hand, is such an element that it cannot be obtained naturally by any means. It is a product of the reaction between uranium-238 and neutrons.

Uranium is the 92nd child of the modern table and is further divided to be placed in the actinide block. It is considered to be radioactive in nature, meaning they radiate energy or particles as they decay. Back in time, it was used to make green or yellow-colored glasses, vases, crockeries, and showpieces.

Plutonium is the 94th child of the modern table and is further divided to be placed in the actinide block. It is a manmade, radioactive, and naturally nonexistent element. It was derived from a reaction with uranium. It is produced in large quantities using reactors. It could lead to an explosion if not handled properly.

Comparison Table Between Uranium and Plutonium

Parameters of ComparisonUraniumPlutonium
Placement It comes before plutonium in the series of actinides in the modern periodic table.It comes after uranium in the series of actinides in the modern periodic table.
SymbolIt is represented by a symbol of the letter U.It is represented by a symbol of the letters Pu.
Boiling point It has a higher boiling point than plutonium.It has a lower boiling point than uranium.
Half-lifeIt has a longer half-life.It has a shorter half-life.
RadioactivityIt is less radioactive than compared to plutonium.It is more radioactive than compared to uranium.

What is Uranium?

Uranium is a deadly element. Its name was inspired by the planet “Uranus.” Its color is silver with a pinch of white in it. One could never guess the amount of damage it can cause. This reminds me of the fact that even owning more than one gram of uranium without a government-given license is considered a criminal offense. This is because even a small amount of this element can cause vast damage to life and property.

Uranium was found or discovered in 1789. However, even before its discovery, it was used in coloring glassware. Later after its discovery, it grabbed the attention of many scientists. During the time of world war, many scientists started using uranium so as to form explosives. Many countries invested a lot of money in the making of nuclear explosives with the help of uranium.

The world recognized the power of uranium when two cities of Japan got destroyed due to a few grams of uranium. However, now many countries in the world use it for generating electricity. Australia is the country with the largest quantity of uranium, followed by Kazakhstan.

Uranium is found from the earth’s crust in the form of an ore; it is then purified through air reduction by calcium. It has several oxidation states. Pure uranium obtained from its ore is dark in color and looks like any other ordinary metal.

What is Plutonium?

Plutonium is a highly protected element. For a long time, many facts about plutonium have been undergrounded as it is considered to be a great threat. It was discovered (made) by a group of scientists back in 1914. It was made by bombarding salt of uranium atom with neutrons. Hence plutonium was produced and was certified to be a useful element for the making of nuclear explosives.

Its name was inspired by the planet Pluto (no longer a planet). However, the discovery of plutonium was kept a secret for many years at that time. The US needed it for creating nuclear weapons. In 1945 an atomic bomb was created with the help of plutonium and was tested and was found to be successful.

Plutonium is shiny in color. When exposed to air, its color turns greenish-yellow. Plutonium does not exist in nature, but many scientists have found a few traces of plutonium occurring in uranium ores which are mined from the earth’s crust. However, there are no confirmed shreds of evidence about this fact. Plutonium is also made when an explosion of explosives consisting of uranium occurs.

Main Differences Between Uranium and Plutonium

  1. Uranium comes before plutonium in the series of actinides in the modern periodic table. They have different symbols which are used to describe their presence in different chemical reactions.
  2. Uranium was discovered by a scientist quite before plutonium was made. However, this is because plutonium was made out of the concept of uranium.Uranium has a higher boiling point than plutonium. The difference between tUranium has a higher boiling point than plutonium. The difference between their boiling points is aheir boiling points is aUranium has a higher boiling point than plutonium. The difference between their boiling points is aUranium has a higher boiling point than plutonium. The difference between their boiling points is a
  3. Uranium has a higher boiling point than plutonium. The difference between their boiling points is about 903 degrees Celsius which can be considered to be a huge gap.
  4. Uranium has a very long half-life when compared to that plutonium.
  5. The radioactive nature of uranium is considered to be less than that of plutonium.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that both of these elements are very expensive, reactive, and radioactive in nature. They should only be dealt with under the presence of an expert and protected area. Owning a large amount of these elements can lead to strict government action until and unless you have a license for owning them. Both these elements, when seen, could look very ordinary but have very dangerous properties. These elements have very little in common apart from the fact that one of them is derived from the other. All the world, scientists must use these elements to bring good to the world.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/1-4020-3598-5_5
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/1-4020-3598-5_7
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