Thorium Research PaperPaper Rating: Word Count: 1147 Approx Pages: 5
Thorium is a naturally occurring, slightly radioactive metal discovered in 1828 by the Swedish chemist Jons Jakob Berzelius, who named it after Thor, the Scandinavian god of war. Thorium was found by Berzelius in a sample of a mineral with an unknown substance that was given to him by the Reverend Has Morten Thrane Esmark. Berzelius found that the unfamiliar element in Esmark's mineral, now known as thorite (ThSiO4), was thorium (Th). This essay will discuss what Thorium is comprised of, the different properties associated with the element, different types of uses and the kinds of research and development occurring with Thorium.
Thorium's atomic number is 90 and has an atomic weight of 232.0381. Thorium can be recovered commercially from the phosphate mineral monazite, which contains anywhere from 3% to 12% thorium oxide (ThO2) along with rare earth minerals. Much of the internal heat that the earth produces has been attributed to thorium. Several methods are available for producing thorium metal. It can be obtained by reducing thorium oxide with calcium, by electrolysis of anhydrous thorium chloride in a fused mixture of sodium and potassium chlorides, by calcium reduction of thorium tetrachloride mixed with anhydrous