Radium Ra`di*um (r[=a]"d[i^]*[u^]m), n. [NL., fr. L. radius ray.] (Chem.) An intensely radioactive metallic element found (combined) in minute quantities in pitchblende, and various other uranium minerals. Symbol, Ra; atomic weight, 226.4. Radium was discovered by M. and Mme. Curie, of Paris, who in 1902 separated compounds of it by a tedious process from pitchblende. Its compounds color flames carmine and give a characteristic spectrum. It is divalent, resembling barium chemically. The main isotope of radium found in pitchblende, radium-226, has a half-life of 1620 years, decaying first by alpha emission to {radon}.

Note: Radium preparations are remarkable for maintaining themselves at a higher temperature than their surroundings, and for their radiations, which are of three kinds: alpha rays, beta rays, and gamma rays (see these terms). The beta and gamma rays seen in radium preparations are in fact due to disintegration of decay products of radium rather than the radium itself. By reason of these rays they ionize gases, affect photographic plates, cause sores on the skin, and produce many other striking effects. Their degree of activity depends on the proportion of radium present, but not on its state of chemical combination or on external conditions. The radioactivity of radium is therefore an atomic property, and is due to an inherent instability of the atomic nucleus which causes its decay in a process whose rate is first order. The disintegration of the radium nucleus is only the first in a series of nuclear disintegrations leading to production of a series of elements and isotopes. The chain has at least seven stages; the successive main products have been studied and are {radon}, a gaseous radioactive element belonging chemically to the inert noble gas series (originally called radium emanation or exradio, radium A, radium B, radium C, etc. The successive products are unstable isotopes of several different elements, each with an atomic weight a little lower than its predecessor. Lead is the stable end product. At the same time, the light gas helium is formed, being generated when the expelled alpha particles (positively charged helium nuclei) acquire electrons. Radium, in turn, is formed in the pitchblende ore by a slow disintegration of uranium. Natural radium and also an isotope (radium-228, also called mesothorium I) formed by the decay of thorium, were at one time used to make a luminous paint for watch dials, until the danger of the radioactivity became fully appreciated, and use of such material in watches was discontinued. See also {mesothorium}. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • RADIUM — En 1898, quelques mois après avoir découvert le polonium, Pierre et Marie Curie et leur collaborateur Gustave Bémont, poursuivant l’étude du fractionnement de la pechblende de Joachimsthal (aujourd’hui Jáchymov, en République tchèque), purent… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Radium — (pronEng|ˈreɪdiəm) is a radioactive chemical element which has the symbol Ra and atomic number 88. Its appearance is almost pure white, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, turning black. Radium is an alkaline earth metal that is found in… …   Wikipedia

  • Radium — Sn (radioaktives Erdalkalimetall) per. Wortschatz fach. (20. Jh.) Neoklassische Bildung. Entdeckt und bezeichnet von den französischen Physikern M. und P. Curie. Zu l. radius Strahl als das Strahlende .    Ebenso nndl. radium, ne. radium, nfrz.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Radium — Студийный альбом Ruoska Дата выпуска 22 марта 2005 Жанр Industrial metal Neue Deutsche Härte Лейбл Kråklund Records П …   Википедия

  • Radium — Radium, KS U.S. city in Kansas Population (2000): 40 Housing Units (2000): 19 Land area (2000): 0.041442 sq. miles (0.107335 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.041442 sq. miles (0.107335 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Radĭum — Ra, chemisches Element, ist bisher nur als Begleiter des Urans in Mineralien aufgefunden worden, und zwar scheint der Gehalt der Gesteine an R. direkt von ihrem Urangehalt abhängig zu sein. Wahrscheinlich ist R. spurenweise überall in der festen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • radium — RÁDIUM s.n. v. radiu. Trimis de LauraGellner, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  RÁDIUM s.n. v. radiu. Trimis de LauraGellner, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DN …   Dicționar Român

  • radium — / radjum/ s.m. [lat. scient. Radium, der. del lat. class. radius raggio ]. (chim.) [elemento chimico di simbolo Ra] ▶◀ radio …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • radium — (n.) radioactive metallic element, 1899, from Fr. radium, named 1898 after identification by Marie Curie and her husband, formed in Modern Latin from L. radius ray (see RADIUS (Cf. radius)). So called for its power of emitting energy in the form… …   Etymology dictionary

  • radium — [rā′dē əm] n. [ModL < L radius, ray (see RADIUS) + IUM: so named (1898) by P. & M. Curie & G. Bémont, because it emits rays] a radioactive, metallic chemical element, one of the alkaline earth metals, found in very small amounts in pitchblende …   English World dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”