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polonium


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Symbol Po. A rare radioactive metallic element of group 16 (formerly VIB) of the periodic table; a.n. 84; r.a.m. 210; r.d. 9.32; m.p. 254°C; b.p. 962°C. The element occurs in uranium ores to an extent of about 100 micrograms per 1000 kilograms. It has over 30 isotopes, more than any other element. The longest-lived isotope is polonium–209 (half-life 103 years). Polonium has attracted attention as a possible heat source for spacecraft as the energy released as it decays is 1.4 × 105 J kg−1 s−1. It was discovered by Marie Curie in 1898 in a sample of pitchblende.

Subjects: Chemistry — Physics.


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