BRAVING THE ELEMENTS(PT. 4)

 

Ion_Engine_Test_Firing_-_GPN-2000-000482

METALS THAT SEND US TO THE STARS

Today we’re going to discuss metals that have been used throughout history, and metals that send probes and spacecraft beyond the boundaries of the solar system itself.

IndiumIndium_wireIndium_wetting_glass

The first of these metals is Indium, and has an atomic number of 49. It is a post transitional metal which is rare on Earth. It is a very soft,  silvery-white, malleable metal which is easily fusible, with a melting point even  lower than tin.  It is used in metal alloys with low melting points, such as solders, and is also used in nuclear medicine as a radio tracer.

Pewterplate_exbCandlestick_made_of_Tin_by_Royal_Selangor

Tin has a symbol of Sn, after the Latin word Stantium, and has an atomic number of 50. The first alloy used on a large scale since 3000 BC was bronze, a mixture of tin and copper. After 600 BC, pure tin was produced. Pewter is an alloy with 90% tin and 10% copper.  It is commonly used in storage of food, in the form of tin cans.  It is also used for eating utensils, armor and weapondry, and any other use related to shaping of metal alloys.

Antimony-4

Antimony has the symbol of Sb, from the Latin word Stibium, and has an atomic number of 51. It is a lustrous, gray metalloid, and has been used since ancient times in cosmetics. It is commonly used for plates in lead-acid batteries, and also used in solders.

Tellurium2

Tellurium has an atomic number of 52, and is a brittle, mildly toxic, rare, silvery-white metalloid.  It is more common in the universe than it is on Earth, and is found in the gas of nebulae. It is used in metal alloys to improve machinability, and in semi-conductors.

ionine gasSequence_of_123-iodide_total_body_human_scintiscans

Iodine has the atomic number of 53, and comes from the Greek word Ioeideˆs, meaning violet or purple, the color of the element when in gas form. It is a Halogen, and considered rare, and is usually used as a tracer in nuclear medicine as well. Iodide is used as a disinfectant, and used to prep areas for surgery, and to treat wounds, and is also in everyday table salt.

Xenon-flashXenon_short_arc_1

Xenon has an atomic number of 54, and is a colorless, odorless, noble gas. It is in the Earth’s atmosphere in trace amounts, and is also quite rare on Earth. It is most commonly used in flash lamps, arc lamps, and as a general anesthetic, as well as in lasers.  Ion propulsion systems on spacecraft use Xenon as a propellant, and have just recently sent a probe to Pluto in half the time that conventional  spacecraft fuel would have.

Xenon_discharge_tube

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at some more metals. Until then, here are today’s links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimony

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tellurium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenon

 

atlantis-sts51J

BUILT TO WITHSTAND ANYTHING!

This week we’ll be  the world of transition metals, metaloids, Noble gases, and Halogens. Today we’ll be introducing some transitional metals that are used in electronics, semiconductors, strong metal alloys used in spacecrafts, and other various uses. They have rather strange names, and you may or may not have heard of them, depending how well you know you’re periodic table.

YytriumYttrium_sublimed_dendritic_and_1cm3_cube

The first is Yttrium, which is a silvery metallic rare earth element found in minerals, and has atomic number of 39.  It’s main use is for the production of red phosphors used in cathode ray tubes and LED’s, but it’s also used for electrodes, electrolytes, electronic filters, lasers and superconductors.  It has been known to cause lung disease if exposed to humans in large doses.

Zirconium_rodZirconium_crystal_bar_and_1cm3_cube

Zirconium comes from the Persian word Zargun, meaning gold colored, and has an atomic number of 40. It’s a lustrous gray white metal that resembles Titanium, and in powered form can cause eye irritation.  It is used to strengthen alloys and in nuclear applications, as well as biomedical uses.

NiobeNiobium_crystals_and_1cm3_cubeNiobium_metalNiobeApollo_CSM_lunar_orbit

Niobium has an atomic number of 41, and is a soft, gray, ductile metal. It is named after Niobe, daughter of Tantalas, in Greek mythology. Again, it used as a alloy to strengthen metals to create superalloys used in jet and rocket engines, superconductors, magnets, and MRI’s.  Other uses include welding, nuclear, and electronic applications, as well as optics, and jewelry.

Molybdenum_crystaline_fragment_and_1cm3_cubeMolly_Hill_molybdenite

Molybdium is also a metal alloy, named from the Neo-Latin word Molyddos, meaning “lead,” and has an atomic number of 42.  Molybdium-containing enzymes are the most common catalysts, used by bacteria to break the chemical bond in nitrogen, allowing biologic nitrogen fixation.

TechnetiumUraniumore

Technetium has an atomic number of 43, and has the lowest atomic number with no stable isotopes, and is thus radioactive.  Nearly all of the element is produced synthetically, and the only pure form is the result of fission reactions, such as those present in red giant stars, and in Uranium mines.  It is silvery gray in color, and is used in low dose gamma ray used in nuclear medicine, such as MRI’s and radiation treatment, and are extracted from nuclear rods.

MRIred giant

Well, that’s today’s selection of metals, take them or leave them.  The lesser common elements tend to be the ones that don’t have many common uses.  Many transitional elements react in much the same way, have similar properties, and many of the same uses.  Bonds of several metals are formed to make metals strong enough to withstand anything, especially extreme heat.

During the next few weeks, I’ll be dropping my blog to four days only to complete production of my next novel, Dimension Lapse II: Return to Doomsday, which is scheduled to be out Sept. 1, 2015.  Please be aware I am also republishing the first novel with a bonus chapter of the second novel, sort of a preview. Until tomorrow, here are today’s links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yttrium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zirconium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niobium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molybdenum

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technetium

silverware

BREAK OUT THE FINE SILVERWARE!

Today we’ll be looking at some more transitional metals, including silver. Most of today’s metals are blended with other to form alloys used in plating and coating.

Ruthenium_a_half_barRuthenium_crystalsTris(bipyridine)ruthenium(II)-chloride-powder

Ruthenium belongs to the Platinum group, has atomic number of 44, and is inert to most other chemicals.  It usually occurs as a minor component of Platinum ores, and is used for wear-resistant electrical contacts, and the production of thick-film resistors.

Rhodium_powder_pressed_meltedWhite-gold--rhodium-platedCONVERTER

Rhodium is a rare silvery-white hard metal which is also inert, and has atomic number of 45. It has only one naturally occurring isotope,  is one of the rarest and most valuable precious metals, and it is resistant to corrosion. It is used as one of the catalysts in three way catalytic converters in automobiles. White Gold is often plated with a thin layer of Rhodium to improve its appearance, and silver is plated with it for tarnish resistance.

Palladium_(46_Pd)Palladium(II)_acetatePalladium_Plated_Belt_Bucklerubles_palladium_1989_Ivan_III

Palladium is a lustrous, silvery-white metal named after the asteroid Pallas, with an atomic number of 46.  It is also part of the Platinum group, and has similar properties to others in the group. It is also one of the components used in catalytic converters, and is also used for electronics, ground water treatment, jewelry, and medical and dentistry equipment. It also has a key role in fuel cells, which combine Hydrogen and Oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water.

Silver_crystalsilverbullionsolarpanels(silver)Canadian_1951_Half_Dollar

Silver has an atomic number of 48,and is a soft, white, and lustrous metal. It has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity and reflectivity of all the metals. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining. Considered a precious metal, it is more abundant than gold. It has been used as currency since ancient times, and is also used in solar panels, water filtration, jewelry, tableware, electrical contacts, conductors, and medical equipment.

Cadmium-crystal_barCadmiumMetalUSGOVcandium batteries

Cadmium has atomic number of 48, and is a soft, white, and lustrous metal, similar to zinc and mercury. It occurs as a minor component in most zinc ores, and has long been used as a pigment for corrosion resistant plating and paint on steel or plastic. It is also used in batteries, in the form of Nickel-Cadmium, but it’s use has slowly been replaced by Lithium due to safety reasons.

candmium paint

Most transitional metals are good conductors of heat and electricity, and are most often used for the same purposes, despite the metal. Tomorrow we’ll look at some other metals and halogens.  Until then, here are today’s links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruthenium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palladium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadmium

 

SCIENCE FICTION AND SCIENCE REALITY

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