Chemical element, symbol Fr and atomic number 87 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Francium is a chemical element; it has symbol Fr and atomic number 87. It is extremely radioactive; its most stable isotope, francium-223 (originally called actinium K after the natural decay chain in which it appears), has a half-life of only 22 minutes. It is the second-most electropositive element, behind only caesium, and is the second rarest naturally occurring element (after astatine). Francium's isotopes decay quickly into astatine, radium, and radon. The electronic structure of a francium atom is [Rn] 7s1; thus, the element is classed as an alkali metal.

Quick facts: Francium, Pronunciation, Mass number, Franciu...
Francium, 87Fr
Pronunciation/ˈfrænsiəm/ (FRAN-see-əm)
Mass number[223]
Francium in the periodic table


Atomic number (Z)87
Groupgroup 1: hydrogen and alkali metals
Periodperiod 7
Block  s-block
Electron configuration[Rn] 7s1
Electrons per shell2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 8, 1
Physical properties
Phase at STPsolid
Melting point300 K (27 °C, 81 °F)
Boiling point950 K (677 °C, 1251 °F)
Density (near r.t.)2.48 g/cm3 (estimated)[1]
Vapor pressure (extrapolated)
P (Pa) 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T (K) 404 454 519 608 738 946
Atomic properties
Oxidation states+1 (expected to have a strongly basic oxide)
ElectronegativityPauling scale: >0.79
Ionization energies
  • 1st: 393 kJ/mol[2]
Covalent radius260 pm (extrapolated)
Van der Waals radius348 pm (extrapolated)
Other properties
Natural occurrencefrom decay
Crystal structure body-centered cubic (bcc)
Body-centered cubic crystal structure for francium

Thermal conductivity15 W/(m⋅K) (extrapolated)
Electrical resistivity3 µΩ⋅m (calculated)
Magnetic orderingParamagnetic
CAS Number7440-73-5
Namingafter France, homeland of the discoverer
Discovery and first isolationMarguerite Perey (1939)
Isotopes of francium
Main isotopes[4] Decay
abun­dance half-life (t1/2) mode pro­duct
212Fr synth 20.0 min β+ 212Rn
α 208At
221Fr trace 4.8 min α 217At
222Fr synth 14.2 min β 222Ra
223Fr trace 22.00 min β 223Ra
α 219At
Symbol_category_class.svg Category: Francium
| references

Bulk francium has never been seen. Because of the general appearance of the other elements in its periodic table column, it is presumed that francium would appear as a highly reactive metal if enough could be collected together to be viewed as a bulk solid or liquid. Obtaining such a sample is highly improbable since the extreme heat of decay resulting from its short half-life would immediately vaporize any viewable quantity of the element.

Francium was discovered by Marguerite Perey[5] in France (from which the element takes its name) in 1939.[6] Before its discovery, francium was referred to as eka-caesium or ekacaesium because of its conjectured existence below caesium in the periodic table. It was the last element first discovered in nature, rather than by synthesis.[note 1] Outside the laboratory, francium is extremely rare, with trace amounts found in uranium ores, where the isotope francium-223 (in the family of uranium-235) continually forms and decays. As little as 1 ounce (28 g) exists at any given time throughout the Earth's crust; aside from francium-223 and francium-221, its other isotopes are entirely synthetic. The largest amount produced in the laboratory was a cluster of more than 300,000 atoms.[7]

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