Rutherfordium Facts - Rf or Element 104

Rutherfordium Chemical & Physical Properties

Rutherfordium is named in honor of Ernest Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics.
Rutherfordium is named in honor of Ernest Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics. Print Collector/Getty Images / Getty Images

The element rutherfordium is a synthetic radioactive element that is predicted to exhibit properties similar to those of hafnium and zirconium. No one really knows, since only minute quantities of this element have been produced to date. The element is likely a solid metal at room temperature. Here are additional Rf element facts:

Element Name: Rutherfordium

Atomic Number: 104

Symbol: Rf

Atomic Weight: [261]

Discovery: A. Ghiorso, et al, L Berkeley Lab, USA 1969 - Dubna Lab, Russia 1964

Electron Configuration: [Rn] 5f14 6d2 7s2

Element Classification: Transition Metal

Word Origin: Element 104 was named in honor of Ernest Rutherford, although discovery of the element was contested, so the official name was not approved by the IUPAC until 1997. The Russian research team had proposed the name kurchatovium for element 104.

Appearance: radioactive synthetic metal

Crystal Structure: Rf is predicted to have a hexagonal close-packed crystal structure similar to that of its congener, hafnium.

Isotopes: All of the isotopes of rutherfordium are radioactive. The most stable isotope, Rf-267, has a half-life around 1.3 hours.

Sources of Element 104: Element 104 has not been found in nature. It is only produced by nuclear bombardment or decay of heavier isotopes. In 1964, researchers at the Russian's facility at Dubna bombarded a plutonium-242 target with neon-22 ions to produce the isotope most likely rutherfordium-259.

In 1969, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley bombarded a californium-249 target with carbon-12 ions to produce alpha decay of rutherfordium-257.

Toxicity: Rutherfordium is expected to be harmful to living organisms due to its radioactivity. It is not an essential nutrient for any known life.

Uses: At present, element 104 has no practical uses and is only application to research.

References: Los Alamos National Laboratory (2001), Crescent Chemical Company (2001), Lange's Handbook of Chemistry (1952), CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics (18th Ed.)

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