Uranium tetrachloride – a radioactive chemical element

Uranium (U) is a radioactive chemical element of the actinoid series of the periodic table. Uranium tetrachloride (UCl4) is a salt of uranium in oxidation state +4. It was used in the electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS) process of uranium enrichment. It is an important nuclear fuel. It is one of the main starting materials for organouranium chemistry. It is a very important element because it provides us with nuclear fuel used to generate electricity in nuclear power stations.

Uranium tetrachloride is one of the main starting materials for organouranium chemistry. It is ductile, malleable, and capable of taking a high polish.

Properties

It is a dense, powder metallic element that is silvery-white in color. It is ductile, malleable, and capable of taking a high polish. Organometallic compounds are an interesting and important group of compounds in which there are metal-carbon bonds linking metal to organic groups.

  • Compound Formula: Cl4U
  • Molecular Weight: 379.84
  • Appearance: Powder
  • Melting Point: 590°C (1094°F)
  • Boiling Point: 791°C (1456°F)
  • Density: 4.725 g/cm3
  • Solubility in H2O: N/A

Synthesis

Uranium tetrachloride is synthesized generally by the reaction of uranium trioxide (UO3) and hexachlorophene. Uranium tetrachloride forms solid addition compounds with the lower alcohols, but the addition of a base to alcoholic solutions of UCl/sub 4/ promotes solvolysis by the removal of HCl. Solvent UCl4 adducts can be formed by a simpler reaction of UI4 with hydrogen chloride in organic solvents.

Applications

Uranium compounds have been used as coloring agents for ceramics. Uranium tetrachloride is produced commercially by the reaction of carbon tetrachloride with pure uranium dioxide UO2 at 370°C. It has been used as a feed in the electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS) process of uranium enrichment. In the enrichment process, uranium tetrachloride is ionized into a uranium plasma.

 

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