Thallium Facts

Thallium Facts
Thallium (Tl) has an atomic number of eighty-one, meaning it has eighty-one protons in the nucleus of an atom. Thallium oxidizes quickly in air to produce a lead-colored coating.
Interesting Thallium Facts:
Thallium was discovered by two scientists independently of each other, William Crookes and Claude-Auguste Lamy, in 1861.
It was found as a byproduct of sulfuric acid manufacturing.
Both scientists discovered it by using the then-newly created flame spectroscopy method.
For several years after its discovery, thallium was considered to be an alkali metal due to its oxidation state.
While thallium salts have high levels of toxicity and were used in rat and insect poisons, thallium actually plays a role in nuclear medicine.
This toxicity actually gave thallium historic importance as a murder weapon, earning the nickname "inheritance powder."
Thallium is soft and malleable enough to be cut with an ordinary knife at room temperature.
Thallium is typically very lustrous, but tarnishes very quickly in the presence of oxygen.
The layer of oxidation builds up with a blue-grayish color, causing thallium to resemble lead.
Thallium is stored in mineral oils to prevent the oxidation and discoloration.
There are twenty-five known isotopes of thallium, but only two are considered stable.
The most stable radioactive isotope of thallium has a half-life of only 3.78 years.
Thallium's occurrance on Earth is thought to be fairly abundant, with a concentration in the planet's crust of around 0.7 milligrams per kilogram.
Thallium is found in the main minerals, crookesite, hutchinsonite, and lorandite.
It occurs as a trace element in other minerals, especially iron pyrite, from which it is extracted to manufacture sulfuric acid.
Despite its poisonous property, thallium was used as a treatment for ringworm and other dermatological infections, as well as in treating side effects of tuberculosis.
Around 70% of the annual global production of thallium is used by the electronics industry.
Most of the remaining thallium each year is used by the pharmaceutical industry for nuclear medicine, and by the glass industry.

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