Home > The Periodic Table has a new contender: element 115

The Periodic Table has a new contender: element 115

article image

It seems the periodic table from chemistry is still a work-in-progress.

Scientists say they have evidence to prove the existence of a new chemical element.

The new “super-heavy” element has the atomic number of 115 and it does not occur naturally.

Rather, by bombarding a thin film of another element called americium with calcium ions, the scientists were able to come up with an element that lasted for only a fraction of a second.

It then perished into other well known elements, The Telegraph reports.

A group of American and Russian scientists first found element 115 in 2004 but was dismissed as a new element due to inadequate evidence.

But tests by scientists from Lund University in Sweden were sufficient to confirm its existence.

Leader of the tests at the division of atomic physics at the university Professor Dirk Rudolph is hoping the element will join the periodic table.

“This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years.”

Named ununpentium for now, it is highly unlikely the element will have many uses due to its extremely short life and its instability.

“Given the production rate – let’s say two atoms per day – practical implications are farfetched,” Rudolph said.

“Concerning the natural occurrence, there are speculations that in the course of stellar supernova explosions the astrophysical rapid-neutron capture process may lead to superheavy elements just at or just short of this neutron number 184.

“So in a sense yes, possibly in outer space – while if they had been part of the solar system they most likely had decayed by today.”

The new element is about 289 times heavier than hydrogen, which is the lightest in the periodic table.

The discovery will undergo assessment by a panel of international experts to see whether it can join the periodic table.

This is usually done by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

They granted the names of three new elements in 2011 with the numbers 110, 111 and 112: darmstadtium (Ds), roentgenium (Rg) and copernicium (Cn).

Atomic number 116 got its approval in May 2012 with the name Livernorium.

This is not the first time anyone has ever heard of ununpentium.

Lara Croft from Tomb Raider 3 gathered it as part of a meteorite.

It is also frequently used in the Call of Duty computer games for powering teleporters and weapons.

Even UFO conspiracy theorists know about it, claiming gravity wave generators used by aliens have it as an element.

Newsletter sign-up

The latest products and news delivered to your inbox