Ununbium (now copernicium)
Symbol: Uub (now Cp)
Atomic Number: 112
Atomic Mass: 285 amu (atomic mass units)
Melting Point: Unknown
Boiling Point: Unknown
Number of Protons: 112
Number of Electrons: 112
Number of Neutrons: 165
Classification: Metal (Man Made)
Crystal Structure: Unknown
Density @ 293 K: Unknown
The man-made element copernicium was first produced at 22:37 on 9 February 1996. The team working on this element was led by the scientists Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Mnzenber and based at the Gesellschaft fur Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in Darmstadt, Germany. It was produced as part of their research into the “super heavy” elements. “Super heavy” elements have atomic numbers higher than 104 and are produced by using a linear accelerator to fire ions of one element into the atoms of another forcing them to join together to form a new element. Copernicium was made by using the accelerator to bombard lead atoms with zinc ions.
The name ununbium came from the naming system proposed by the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). This system relates the name of a new element to its atomic number. It uses a series of syllables to stand for each number. Un-un-bi stood for 112
In June 2008, IUPAC officially recognized the discovery of element 112. With its official recognition in place, the team of scientists who discovered the new element has the honor of giving the element a new name. They have decided to call the element Copernicium, with the symbol, Cp after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
The first atoms of copernicium to be produced were of the isotope copernicium-227, which has a half-life of 0.24 milliseconds. Five isotopes of copernicium have been produced with copernicium-285 having the longest half-life of ten minutes it decays by alpha decay to darmstadtium-281. Copernicium-285 is also the most recent isotope to be discovered.
Very few atoms of copernicium have been produced and other than, its position in the periodic table and the fact it is radioactive not much is known about this element. With such a small amount available and it having a short life it has been impossible to ascertain its bulk properties such as density, melting point or boiling point. Its position in the periodic table, which is in group 12, period 7 and in the d-block allows us to deduce it is a metal and it would be white, silver or gray in color.
Other than scientific research into the “super heavy” elements, copernicium has no practical uses.