Mendelevium is a highly synthetic and a radioactive metal with an atomic number of 101 and symbol Md. It is the first element by atomic number that currently cannot be produced in macroscopic quantities through neutron bombardment of lighter elements. It is the third-to-last actinide and the ninth transuranic element. It can only be produced in particle accelerators by bombarding lighter elements with charged particles. It was discovered by bombarding einsteinium with alpha particles in 1955, the same method still used to produce it today. It was named after Dmitri Mendeleev, father of the periodic table of the chemical elements.
Using available microgram quantities of the isotope einsteinium-253, over a million mendelevium atoms may be produced each hour. The chemistry of mendelevium is typical for the late actinides, with a preponderance of the +3 oxidation state but also an accessible +2 oxidation state. All of the isotopes of mendelevium have relatively short half-lives, there are currently no uses for it outside basic scientific research, and only small amounts are produced.
Characteristics of Mendelevium
- In the periodic table, mendelevium is located to the right of the actinide fermium, to the left of the actinide nobelium, and below the lanthanide thulium.
- It was obtained by bombarding einsteinium-253 with the helium ions. The metal has one most stable isotopes, mendelevium-258, which has a half-life measuring of 51.5 days.
- It tends to decays into einsteinium-254 through the process of alpha decay or the process of spontaneous fission.
- Apart from naturally occurring isotopes, the metal has around 16 synthetic isotopes whose mass numbers lie in between 245 to 260.
- The metal exhibits similar characteristics to that of the elements of the actinide series, and it also possesses an oxidation state of III.
- Various experiments show that it also has a moderate oxidation state of II.