Plutonium is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, and forms a dull coating when oxidized.
Protons and Neutrons in Plutonium
Plutonium is a chemical element with atomic number 94 which means there are 94 protons in its nucleus. Total number of protons in the nucleus is called the atomic number of the atom and is given the symbol Z. The total electrical charge of the nucleus is therefore +Ze, where e (elementary charge) equals to 1,602 x 10-19 coulombs.
The total number of neutrons in the nucleus of an atom is called the neutron number of the atom and is given the symbol N. Neutron number plus atomic number equals atomic mass number: N+Z=A. The difference between the neutron number and the atomic number is known as the neutron excess: D = N – Z = A – 2Z.
For stable elements, there is usually a variety of stable isotopes. Isotopes are nuclides that have the same atomic number and are therefore the same element, but differ in the number of neutrons. Mass numbers of typical isotopes of Plutonium are 239, 240, 241, 244.
Main Isotopes of Plutonium
Plutonium occurs in 4 natural isotopes: 238Pu, 239Pu, 240Pu and 244Pu. All isotopes are very slightly radioactive and occur only in traces.
Plutonium-238 is composed of 94 protons, 144 neutrons, and 94 electrons.
Plutonium-239 is composed of 94 protons, 145 neutrons, and 94 electrons.
Plutonium-240 is composed of 94 protons, 146 neutrons, and 94 electrons.
Plutonium-244 is composed of 94 protons, 150 neutrons, and 94 electrons.
Electrons and Electron Configuration
The number of electrons in an electrically-neutral atom is the same as the number of protons in the nucleus. Therefore, the number of electrons in neutral atom of Plutonium is 94. Each electron is influenced by the electric fields produced by the positive nuclear charge and the other (Z – 1) negative electrons in the atom.
Since the number of electrons and their arrangement are responsible for the chemical behavior of atoms, the atomic number identifies the various chemical elements. The configuration of these electrons follows from the principles of quantum mechanics. The number of electrons in each element’s electron shells, particularly the outermost valence shell, is the primary factor in determining its chemical bonding behavior. In the periodic table, the elements are listed in order of increasing atomic number Z.
Electron configuration of Plutonium is [Rn] 5f6 7s2.
Possible oxidation states are +3,4,5,6.
|Number of protons||94|
|Number of neutrons (typical isotopes)||239, 240, 241, 244|
|Number of electrons||94|
|Electron configuration||[Rn] 5f6 7s2|
Properties of other elements