The Physics
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Density of Uranium

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Demmin, Peter E., Henry Dorin, and Dorothy L. Gabel. Chemistry: The Study of Matter. Needham, Massachusetts: Prentice Hall, 1992: 82. "At 20 °C, the density of uranium is 18.9 g/cm3." 18,900 kg/m3
Emsley, John. Uranium. Net Elements II. Cambridge University. 27 October 1999. "Density (kg/m3) : 18,950 [293 K]" 18,950 kg/m3
Selby, Samuel M., and Robert C. Weast, and. Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. Cleveland, Ohio: Chemical Rubber Company, 1967: B-237.
NameSynonyms or FormulaeDensity or spec. gravity
UraniumU19.05 ± 0.0225
19,050 kg/m3
Uranium Element Facts. ChemiCool. 2005. 20 May 2006.
Name: Uranium Symbol: U
Group: Rare Earth, ActinidesAtomic weight: 238.029
Density @ 293 K: 18.9 g/cm3Atomic volume: 12.59 cm3/mol
Group: Rare Earth, Actinidesdiscovered: 1789
18,900 kg/m3

One of the densest elements on the periodic table, Uranium is a highly dense metal. It has a density that is greater than that of lead, but less than that of gold. Density is defined as the ratio of a material's mass to its volume. The formula that represents density is

ρ = m/V

where ρ is the density of the material, m is the mass of the material, and V is the volume of the material.

Discovered by a German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth in 1789, uranium is one of the denser metals that can be found on the periodic table of the elements. Its density is approximated to be 19,050 kg/m3. This element obtained its name from the planet Uranus. Uranium was identified as a metal in 1841 by Eugene-Melchior Peligot.

Uranium is a naturally occurring element that is found in low levels rock, soil, and water. Uranium can be found in significant quantities on earth and therefore was used in the glass-making industry since ancient times. Dated back to 79 AD, uranium was used to add a yellow color to ceramics in Naples, Italy. This element was then rediscovered in the earlier part of the nineteenth century and was used as a "secret ingredient" in a local Bohemian glass making industry.

After it has been refined, uranium is a silvery white, weakly radioactive metal. Uranium is softer than steel and is malleable (shape can be easily changed), ductile (physical property of being able to sustain plastic deformations without fracture), and paramagnetic (tendency of atomic magnetic dipoles to align with an external magnetic field). Uranium was discovered to be a radioactive material and this property was utilized in the building of atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project — a secret government project during World War II to construct atomic weapons that could be used in the war effort.

Michael Mirochnik -- 2006