Tennessine Element Facts

Tennessine is a synthetic radioactive element. Not enough atoms have been produced to know exactly what it looks like.
Tennessine is a synthetic radioactive element. Not enough atoms have been produced to know exactly what it looks like.

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Tennessine is element 117 on the periodic table, with the element symbol Ts and predicted atomic weight of 294. Element 117 is an artificially produced radioactive element that was verified for inclusion on the periodic table in 2016.

Interesting Tennessine Element Facts

  • A Russian-American team announced the discovery of element 117 in 2010. The same team verified their results in 2012 and a German-American team successfully repeated the experiment in 2014. Atoms of the element were made by bombarding a berkelium-249 target with calcium-48 to produce Ts-297, which then decayed into Ts-294 and neutrons or into Ts-294 and neutrons. In 2016, the element was formally added to the periodic table.
  • The Russian-American team proposed the new name Tennessine for element 117, in recognition of the contributions made by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The element's discovery involved two countries and several research facilities, so it was anticipating naming might be problematic. However, multiple new elements were verified, making it easier to agree on names. The symbol is Ts because Tn is the abbreviation for the Tennessee state name.
  • Based on its location on the periodic table, you might expect element 117 would be a halogen, like chlorine or bromine. However, scientists believe relativistic effects from the element's valence electrons will prevent tennessine from forming anions or achieving high oxidation states. In some respects, element 117 may more closely resemble a metalloid or post-transition metal. While element 117 may not behave like halogens chemically, it is likely physical properties like melting and boiling point will follow halogen trends. Of all the elements on the periodic table, ununseptium should most closely resemble astatine, which is directly above it on the table. Like astatine, element 117 will likely be a solid around room temperature.
  • As of 2016, a total of 15 tennessine atoms have been observed: 6 in 2010, 7 in 2012, and 2 in 2014.
  • At present, tennessine is only used for research. Scientists are investigating the properties of the element and using it to produce atoms of other elements through its decay scheme.
  • There is no known or expected biological role of element 117. It's expected to be toxic, primarily because of its radioactive and very heavy.

Element 117 Atomic Data

Element Name/Symbol: Tennessine (Ts), was formerly Ununseptium (Uus) from the IUPAC nomenclature or eka-astatine from the Mendeleev nomenclature

Name Origin: Tennessee, the site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Discovery: Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna, Russia), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Tennessee, USA), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (California, USA) and other US institutions in 2010

Atomic Number: 117

Atomic Weight: [294]

Electron Configuration: predicted to be [Rn] 5f14 6d10 7s2 7p5

Element Group: p-block of group 17

Element Period: period 7

Phase: predicted to be solid at room temperature

Melting Point: 623–823 K ​(350–550 °C, ​662–1022 °F) (predicted)

Boiling Point: 883 K ​(610 °C, ​1130 °F) (predicted)

Density: predicted to be 7.1–7.3 g/cm3

Oxidation States: The predicted oxidation states are -1, +1, +3, and +5, with the most stable states being +1 and +3 (not -1, like other halogens)

Ionization Energy: The first ionization energy is predicted to be 742.9 kJ/mol

Atomic Radius: 138 pm

Covalent Radius: extrapolated to be 156-157 pm

Isotopes: The two most stable isotopes of tennessine are Ts-294, with a half-life of about 51 milliseconds, and Ts-293, with a half-life around 22 milliseconds.

Uses of Element 117: At present, ununseptium and the other superheavy elements are only used for research into their properties and to form other superheavy nuclei.

Toxicity: Due to its radioactivity, element 117 presents a health risk.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Tennessine Element Facts." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/element-117-facts-ununseptium-or-uus-3880071. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, February 16). Tennessine Element Facts. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/element-117-facts-ununseptium-or-uus-3880071 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Tennessine Element Facts." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/element-117-facts-ununseptium-or-uus-3880071 (accessed March 27, 2023).