Curium is a radioactive element found in small amounts in nuclear reactors. It is an actinide metal and has a high boiling point. The most stable isotope has 151 neutrons in the nucleus.
Typical isotopes of curium are 242-250. Some isotopes are not stable and have a half-life of 163 days. There are 19 known radioisotopes. One isotope, 245Cm, is produced by the decay of 249Cf.
Curium is not naturally occurring in the earth’s crust. The discovery of this element was related to the Manhattan Project. During World War II, the element was kept under wraps. In 1951, it was first synthesized in elemental form. This element is used in thermoelectric converters and X-ray spectrometers.
Curium was named after Pierre and Marie Curie. Their contributions were invaluable in advancing the understanding of chemical elements. They were also instrumental in the development of the nuclear energy industry.
Curium is an actinide element that does not occur naturally on Earth. However, it does react with oxygen to form oxides. These include Cm2O3 (curium dioxide) and CmO3. Although a wide variety of compounds have been synthesised, the majority are trivalent. Tetravalent curium is very stable in solid state and meta-stable in concentrated fluoride solutions.
Despite the presence of multiple isotopes, there is very little commercial use for curium. Most of its applications involve basic research. Researchers have isolated several compounds, including curium bromide, curium iodide, and curium tetrafluoride. A few of these are also used for thermoelectric converters.