Element Factfile: Francium

Today's element

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itch-packshotOut now, the book follows Itchingham Lofte – known as Itch- who is an element-hunter! He’s decided to collect all the elements in the periodic table, which has some rather destructive results in his bedroom!

However, when he discovers a brand new element, never seen before, he ends up with unwanted attention and a lot of danger.

Itch is written by Simon Mayo and published by Random House – out now.

So you can become an element hunter too, we’ve put together fact files on some key elements you’ll want to catch!

Today’s is… Franicum
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Here’s what Itch has got to say:

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FranciumBetter be careful. Francium is the world’s most explosive chemical element.

Because it is a member of the Group 1 metals, it really, really wants to give away that one valence electron. And when you combine any metals in that group (Sodium, Cesium, Rubidium) with water it’s not pretty.

It’s also very rare. There’s no more than one ounce of natural francium on earth at any one time – that’s barely two tablespoons worth!

That probably explains why they only discovered it recently. Marguerite Catherin Perey, a french chemist, was the one back in 1939.

Due to the small amounts produced and its short half-life, there are currently no uses for francium outside of basic scientific research.

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