- It is used in blue and green phosphors for color television tubes.
- Cadmium is so chemically similar to zinc that it’s named after it! (Cadmium from “cadmia,” Latin for “calamine,” which is zinc ore).
- Yellow oil paint derives its color from cadmium.
- It is naturally resistant to corrosion.
- Rechargeable batteries need cadmium to function.
- When combined with other metals, it lowers their melting points.
- It is pyrophoric, i.e., it spontaneously combusts in air.
- It instantly explodes when in contact with water.
- Cesium has a waxy consistency.
- Cesium is used in how we count time! The definition of a second is the time it takes a cesium-133 atom to vibrate 9,192,631,770 times between energy levels. They lose one second per 100 million years, so it’s safe to say atomic clocks are pretty accurate!
- Calcium isn’t just common in bones and teeth, but also soil, eggshells, cement, and limestone.
- Calcium ions are necessary for the brain to send signals to the body.
- About 2 pounds of our body is made of calcium!
- It’s the fifth most abundant element on Earth.
- Its salts are used to produce orange colors in fireworks.
- If calcium levels are too low in the human body, bones will dissolve to give blood the calcium it needs.
- It is used to treat certain cervical and brain cancers.
- Californium is useful in finding gold and silver in rocks, oil at the bottom of wells, and detecting explosives.
- Portable metal detectors use it.
- It does not occur naturally, but is formed by colliding helium nuclei with curium atoms.
- Diamonds and graphite are both just carbon-the only difference is their molecular structure!
- About 20% of the weight of living organisms is carbon.
- Materials researchers focus heavily on carbon, from the 2D material graphene to carbon nanotubes.
- Diamonds aren’t just pretty, but diamond tips are used for industrial cutting and drilling.
- Tires containing carbon are strengthened and protected against UV damage.
- Ionsdaleite, an allotrope of carbon, is 58% stronger than diamond.
- Carbon has the highest melting point of all elements (3550 oC, or 6420 oF).
- It is the most abundant of the rare earth metals.
- UV lasers with cerium search for ozone and sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Cerium oxide (CeO2) is used in internal combustion engine fuel to produce fewer pollutants.
- Cerium compounds are used to make red and orange phosphors.
- Scratching the surface will produce a flame, as cerium reacts quickly with oxygen. This makes it useful for flint lighters.
- Not only was it a potent weapon in World War I, but it has some beneficial uses in medicine, water purification, and in salt as sodium chloride (NaCl).
- Although chlorine gas is 2.5 times denser than air, it is a destructive pollutant that eats away at the ozone layer. This is because the atmosphere is dynamic, and air’s constant motion will bring chlorine compounds to the upper atmosphere.
- It’s yellowish-green in color.
- It is used in making rubber and PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
- Chromium is what makes stainless steel stainless. It forms chromium oxide on the surface, shielding the steel (iron carbide) from forming rust (iron oxide).
- It hardens steel.
- Fittingly named, chromium (from “chroma,” or color in Greek) makes compounds of virtually all colors, including: red, reddish-orange, yellow, green, blue-green, and violet.
- It makes emeralds green and rubies red.
- Small amounts of trivalent (with three valence electrons) chromium are needed to process sugar and lipids.
- Hexavalent (with six valence electrons) chromium and its compounds are carcinogenic and highly toxic.
- It’s in our bodies! Vitamin B12 contains cobalt, which is necessary for blood formation and the nervous system.
- Cobalt compounds make glass blue.
- Scientists have been able to capture an image of an electron’s spin changing for the first time in a cobalt atom.
- Do you play guitar? Well the pickups use magnets containing cobalt.
- Cobalt stays magnetic at higher temperatures than any other magnetic element (up to 1121oC, or 2050oF).
- Only a few atoms have been produced. It was produced by ionic bombardment, but it has also been seen as a product of flerovium decay.
- It is used for research.
- Its most stable isotope (copernicium-285), has a half-life of only 30 seconds!
- Copper is naturally antibacterial. Brass doorknobs are commonly used so bacteria doesn’t spread in public areas.
- Copper is highly conductive and corrosion resistant.
- Though humans have mined about 1.1 trillion pounds of copper, there are still another 7 trillion pounds to be mined! Since copper is 100% recyclable, we won’t be using all of it up any time soon.
- Tools made of copper don’t cause sparks.
- Brass is copper with zinc; bronze is copper with tin.
- When exposed to air, it turns from reddish-orange to brown. When water is added to the mix, it turns green.
- Our bodies need it to survive.
- It accumulates in bones and stops the formation of red bloods cells.
- It is highly radioactive.
- Curium glows purple in the dark (click “purple” for image credit).
- It was used to measure elements in rocks and soil on Mars.
- It has a half-life of about a quarter of a millisecond (270 microseconds).
- Only a few atoms have been produced, so not much is known about it.
- Because of its place on the periodic table, it is expected to behave like the transition metals. It would be most similar to tantalum.
- Not much else is known about it since only few atoms have been produced.
- It can be cut with a knife.
- A dysprosium oxide nickel cement aids in cooling nuclear reactor rods.
- Laser materials are produced with dysprosium and various rare earth elements.
- It is used to produce fuel injectors.
- It glows blue in the dark, due to its high radioactivity.
- When the first hydrogen bomb test was executed, einsteinium was discovered for the first time in the debris.
- Pure einsteinium is difficult to study due to its short half-life, so not much is known.
- Erbium oxide makes glass pink.
- It can add a pink color to cubic zirconia.
- Lasers use it.
- Erbium is combined with vanadium to make it softer and more malleable.
- On its own, it’s slightly toxic; in compounds, it may help boost metabolism.
- Of the rare earth metals, europium is the most reactive.
- Computer monitors use it for blue, red, and white colors.
- It is used in bank notes to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit notes.
- Some energy-efficient light bulbs use europium.
- It is used to form laser material.