Wikijunior:The Elements/Polonium

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Shows the position of Polonium on the periodic chart.
Polonium's symbol on the Periodic Table

What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?[edit]

Polonium is a silvery metal at room temperature. It feels much like its neighbor, lead. You would not want to taste it as it is deadly poison.

How was it discovered?[edit]

Polonium was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898. They isolated it from pitchblende, which also contains uranium.

Where did its name come from?[edit]

The name "polonium" comes from Poland, where Marie Curie was born. It is also referred to as Radium F.

Did You Know?

  • Polonium is so radioactive that it spontaneously heats up and vaporises, even at room temperature.

Where is it found?[edit]

Polonium is very rare and only occurs as an impurity in some uranium ores.

What are its uses?[edit]

Polonium doesn't have much use because it's so radioactive. Because it produces so much heat from its radioactivity, it's used in some generators which use that heat to produce electricity.

Is it dangerous?[edit]

Polonium is toxic and radioactive. This radioactivity is very dangerous. Because polonium is so radioactive, it heats up quickly and can cause burns.