Is francium flammable?

In this blog post, we will answer the question, “is francium flammable?”. We will also discuss what francium is, the uses of francium,  what happens if you heat francium, and what happens when you put francium in the water.

Is francium flammable?

When exposed to a flame, Francium does not catch fire; nevertheless, it does when exposed to water or air, particularly oxygen.

What is Francium?

Francium is a radioactive heavy metal with a half-life of about 22 minutes. It is unstable and radioactive. 

Marguerite Perey made the crucial discovery of Francium in 1939. When she removed all of the actinium’s radioactive contaminants, the sample’s radioactivity suggested the presence of another element, which she correctly inferred was element 87. 

It wasn’t until after World War II that her findings were finally recognized as legitimate by the scientific community as the discovery’s rightful creator.

One of Earth’s most precious elements, Francium, is also one of its rarest. There are just about 30 grams of Francium in existence right now.

Francium must be the most reactive alkali metal as the least electronegative element. 

Because it’s created in such small amounts in particle accelerators, it can’t be shown interacting with water. Its interaction with water should be more intense than sodium and cesium.

Stony Brook University in New York has done the most recent research on Francium. Scientists there used laser beams and magnetic fields to capture up to 10,000 francium atoms to study their characteristics.

What are the uses of Francium?

Due to its short half-life and scarce occurrence in nature, there aren’t many practical uses for Francium. Francium has only been utilized in research till now.

Biological functions for Francium have not been established. Because of its radioactivity, it is poisonous. 

The short half-life of this intensely radioactive element means it has little effect on the environment.

What happens if you heat Francium?

In a heated environment, it would be liquid at a temperature of 27oC (81oF) because of its low melting point.

What happens when you put Francium in water? 

Francium hydroxide, hydrogen gas, and a significant amount of heat will be generated due to a reaction between Francium and water. There will be radioactive contamination of the surrounding place.

As an alkali metal, Francium creates a powerful exothermic reaction. 

The interaction between alkali metals and water grows increasingly powerful going down the first column of the periodic table, as follows:

  • A small quantity of lithium will float in water and ignite.
  • Sodium ignites way faster.
  • Flames of violet color may be seen as Potassium disintegrates.
  • Rubidium emits a fiery red flame when ignited.
  • Tiny amounts of cesium are enough to cause a small piece to explode when they come into contact with water.
  • Francium is lower on the table than cesium; therefore, it is more likely to react aggressively and quickly.

Each alkali metal has just one valence electron, which is why this happens. These atoms, such as water, can quickly react with this electron. 

The lone valence electron becomes more convenient to detach as you go down the periodic table, increasing the element’s reactivity.

Moreover, Francium is highly radioactive and projected to produce a lot of heat. 

Temperature is a powerful accelerator and enhancer of chemical processes. The radioactive decay energy of Francium would be fed into the reaction, increasing the reaction’s intensity.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have answered the question, “is francium flammable?”. We have also discussed what francium is, the uses of francium, what happens if you heat francium, and what happens when you put francium in the water.

If you have more questions about francium, please comment down below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): is francium flammable?

How to handle Francium safely?

HSE must be notified of any experiments using radioactive material. The HSE Department will give detailed guidance for worker safety, injury prevention, and environmental policy when a detail of the experiment has been submitted. 

Careful adherence to these rules is required:

  • The quantity of Francium used must be as low as possible.
  • If you must operate alone in a radioactive lab, do so only during business hours. In the event of an emergency, you should always have somebody nearby.
  • Isolate any activities with Francium from non-radioactive operations at all times to avoid radioactive contamination.
  • Use absorbent paper packets to pinpoint the area where Francium is employed as much as feasible.
  • Any container or item that has made contact with Francium should be marked with a radiation symbol.
  • Never enter the radioactive zone with paper documents such as notes.
  • Protect yourself from radioactive materials by wearing a lab coat whenever possible. Wear disposable clothes if there is a substantial danger of contamination. Keep your lab coat separate from your everyday wear.
  • Handling Francium requires the use of rubber gloves. Check the gloves’ radiation exposure regularly. Don’t use gloves that could be contaminated. Instead, use paper tissues.
  • Ensure to protect your feet while entering a room where the floor is likely contaminated.
  • Keep your personal belongings, such as purses and other bags, out of the lab.
  • Protect yourself from radiation by wearing the proper radiation shielding. Remove the quantity of stock solution that is required and promptly return it to storage.
  • To minimize internal contamination when working with Francium, it is vital to practice good hygiene.
  • Any kind of food, drink, or cosmetics is strictly banned in the radioactive laboratory.
  • Never use your mouth to pipette. Instead, make use of pipetting tools.
  • When you’re done with the lab, fully wash your hands.
  • At the end of a working day, look at the radiation levels in your work area and all the equipment you use. Paper that has been polluted should be replaced. Decontaminate any affected items.
  • All radioactive waste should be disposed of in the insulated bin. Reduce waste to the absolute minimum. Divide radioactive waste into short- and long-lived types.
  • Always stay in the room (except if you are wounded) when a radioactive accident occurs (e.g., leaks). Notify your HSE radioprotection division, who will then call the HSE Department.
  • The general emergency hotline (016 32) should be used to report any incidents outside of normal business hours.
  • Clearly state that radioactive elements are involved in the incident.
  • Remove any radioactive messes as carefully as possible.

Why is Francium so expensive?

Because Francium is naturally occurring yet degrades so fast, it cannot be mined for use. It has a 22-minute half-life. 

Only a handful of francium atoms have been manufactured thus far. The greatest amount of Francium ever created was a clump of around 300,000 atoms.

In other words, if you attempted to make 100 grams of Francium, you’d have to spend billions of dollars.

Where is Francium found?

Radium is bombarded with neutrons in a nuclear reactor, yielding Francium. Thorium may be bombarded with protons to produce it as well.

References

Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “Francium in Water: What Happens If You Drop Francium in Water?” ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/dropping-francium-in-water-607474.

Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “What Is the Most Expensive Element?” ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/what-is-most-expensive-element-606625.

https://www.britannica.com/science/francium
https://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/87/francium
https://admin.kuleuven.be/sab/vgm/kuleuven/en/riskactivities/rp/RadiationProtectionPrecautions.html

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