/kyoor"ee euhm/, n.
a radioactive element not found in nature but discovered in 1944 among the products of plutonium after bombardment by high-energy helium ions. Symbol: Cm; at. no.: 96.
[1946; < NL; named after M. and P. CURIE; see -IUM]

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 synthetic chemical element of the actinoid series of the periodic table, atomic number 96. Undetected in nature, curium (as the isotope curium-242) was discovered (summer 1944) at the University of Chicago by Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, and Albert Ghiorso in a plutonium isotope, plutonium-239, that had been bombarded by helium ions (alpha particles) in the 60-inch cyclotron at the University of California, Berkeley. It was the third transuranium element to be discovered.

      Curium is a silvery metal. All of its isotopes are radioactive. For chemical research curium-242 (163-day half-life) has been supplanted by curium-244 (17.6-year half-life) and the still longer-lived isotopes from curium-245 to curium-248, all of which are built up from plutonium-239 by neutron irradiation. Curium exhibits its common +3 oxidation state as the very faint yellow Cm3+ ion in aqueous solution, as the sesquioxide Cm2O3, and as the trihalides; it is chemically similar to the other tripositive actinide elements and to the lanthanide elements. The +4 oxidation state appears in the black dioxide CmO2 and as the Cm4+ ion complexed with the fluoride ion. The isotopes curium-242 and curium-244 are well suited for use in space because they can provide compact, long-lived sources of electricity through conversion of their heat of radioactive decay by thermoelectric and thermionic devices.

atomic number
stablest isotope
melting point
c. 1,340° C (2,444° F)
specific gravity
c. 13.51
oxidation states
+3, +4
electronic config.
[Rn]5f 76d17s2

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • curium — Symbol: Cm Atomic number: 96 Atomic weight: (247) Radioactive metallic transuranic element. Belongs to actinoid series. Nine known isotopes, Cm 247 has a half life of 1.64*10^7 years. First identified by Glenn T. Seaborg and associates in 1944,… …   Elements of periodic system

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  • Curium — Eigenschaften …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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