Element Project: Vanadium
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Vanadium is a very interesting and useful element. It is solid at room temperature and in its pure state it is a grayish silvery metal. It is soft and ductile and it has good corrosion resistance to alkalis, sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and salt waters. Its element symbol is V and its atomic number is 23. On the periodic table it is in group 5 and in period 4. Its atomic mass is 50.9415, and the history of Vanadium can be traced back to 1801. In 1801, Vanadium was discovered by Andres Manuel del Rio in Mexico. He prepared salts form the mineral vanadinite (then known as brown lead), but he didn’t isolate the pure metal. However, people doubted his work. In 1831, Nils Gabriel Sefström of Sweden also discovered Vanadium and confirmed Andres Manuel del Rio’s work. He was also the one who gave the element its name. Vanadium is a Scandinavian name and comes from the word “Vanadis” who was the Scandinavian goddess of beauty. It was named this as the element forms multicolored compounds. Henry E. Roscoe was the one who first isolated metallic vanadium in 1867, and he did so by reducing vanadium chloride. The electron configuration of Vanadium is 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d3 4s2.
Vanadium also forms different isotopes. Natural Vanadium is a mixture of the two stable isotopes, Vanadium-50 (0.24%) and Vanadium-51 (99.76%). Vanadium-50 is somewhat radioactive, with a half life exceeding 3.9 x 1017 years. Vanadium has other radioactive isotopes, but they have half-lives shorter than an hour. They range from Vanadium-40 to Vanadium-65, and none of these isotopes are found in nature. There are also different ions of Vanadium that normally have charges of +2, +3, +4 and +5, and they are very useful. Vanadium is used in nuclear applications, for producing rust-resistant spring and high-speed tools. Vanadium is also used as a steel additive or ferrovanadium. Vanadium-gallium tape is also important as it is used to produce superconducting magnets. However, despite the fact that Vanadium is useful there are many hazards associated with its use.
Vanadium metal powder is a fire hazard, and all Vanadium compounds should be regarded as highly toxic. Vanadium compounds in some industrial smoke pollution may also cause lung cancer, so measures should be taken to prevent this One should be careful when dealing with and purifying Vanadium. Vanadium can be likely found in approximately 65 minerals, including vanadinite, carnotite, patronite, and roscoelite. It can also found in certain iron ores and phosphate rock and in some crude oils as organic complexes. The purification process to obtain Vanadium from such sources is slightly complex. Heating Vanadium ore with salt, NaCl, at about 850°C gives sodium vanadate, which is then dissolved in water and acidified to give a red solid. This in turn is melted to form a crude form of Vanadium pentoxide. Reduction of vanadium pentoxide with calcium gives pure vanadium.
Due to this long process, the market price of Vanadium is $220 per 100g, which is $2.20 for 1g. There is a lot more to know about Vanadium including that its melting point is 2183 K. Vanadium’s boiling point is 3680 K, and Vanadium’s density is 5.8 Grams Per Cubic Centimeter. The 1st Ionization Potential of Vanadium is 650.1 kJ/mol and its atomic radius is about 134 pm. The ionic radius is different for different ions but ranges from around 49.5 radius / pm for the V(V) ion to 93 radius / pm for the V(II) ion, and is mostly around the 70s. The bond radius is 125 pm, and the electronegativity of Vanadium is 1.63 in Pauling units.
In conclusion, Vanadium is a very interesting element with an interesting background as well. It has many uses (mostly involving steel), but it can also be a health and fire hazard. Pure Vanadium can be hard to obtain, but Vanadium forms many compounds that are used very often in things such as dyes and ceramics. It also has many isotopes, but only two are found in nature. Still, Vanadium is a very important element, and there is still much more to learn about it.
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