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Uses of Uranium

Uranium, with the chemical symbol U and an atomic number of 92, is a silvery-white metallic element with the second highest atomic weight of all naturally occurring elements. It is the only naturally occurring fissile isotope and is found in small concentrations in soil, rock and water and is mined from uranium-bearing minerals such as uraninite. Here are some of the most common uses of uranium in the world today!

Uses of Uranium

Military Uses:

  • The main application of uranium in the military sector is in projectiles. Depleted uranium is used to create high-density penetrators such as those projectiles used to piece heavily armored targets. Removable armor for vehicles such as tanks is made from hardened uranium plating.
  • Depleted uranium is used as shielding in containers that store radioactive materials despite the fact that it itself is radioactive.
  • Uranium is also used as the fissile explosive to create nuclear weaponry.
  • Uranium is used to power nuclear powered submarines and ships.

Civilian Uses:

  • The major use of uranium in a non-military capacity is in nuclear power plants. It is used to fuel the nuclear fission reactors.
  • Before people knew that uranium was radioactive it was used as a yellow coloring for pottery and glassware. It was also used to color kitchen and bathroom tiles.
  • Uranium was used in photographic chemicals, lamp filaments, to improve the whiteness of dentures and in the leather and wood industry as stains and dyes.
  • Uranium is also mined to isolate radium for use in glow in the dark paints for clock faces and aircraft dials.
  • The radioisotopes from uranium are used in smoke detectors.
  • Uranium metal is used as ballasts in yachts and airplanes.

Scientific Uses:

  • Uranium derivatives are used in biological science as stains to increase the contracts between virus and other cells.
  • Its long half-live has also led to it being used in dating the age of the earth.
  • Uranium metal is used as a target for high-powered x-ray machines.

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