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What would mixing different radioactive materials do?

  1. Mar 13, 2017 #1
    If I was to throw together I variety of radioactive materials into a pot, what would be the interaction between the different materials? If I threw together Barium and Polonium, what would happen? What if I added Cesium, Europium, and Strontium to the mix? What about throwing in Uranium? Will anything happen besides our giant blob of radioactive soup becoming more radioactive?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2017 #2


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    One would have to look at the chemical properties of the elements.

    Barium, cesium, europium and strontium, all have stable isotopes, but I think one is referring to the radioactive isotopes.

    Polonium is chemically similar to tellurium or selenium, and strontium and barium form tellurides, SrTe and BaTe, so one would expect that Ba and Po would form barium polonide. Tellurides and selenides form semiconductors.

    I'm not sure why one would to simply at Cs, Eu and Sr to a mix.
  4. Mar 14, 2017 #3
    There will be just normal chemical interactions, nothing "nuclear" (unless you drop in fissile isotopes and form a critical mass). Each radioactive isotope will continue to decay as it was doing it alone.
  5. Mar 14, 2017 #4
    Quite a Hot Pot, but I would not sit to that table, that's for sure...
  6. Mar 14, 2017 #5
    I was wondering about chemical reactions specifically.
  7. Oct 15, 2017 #6
    Radioactivity is completely independent of temperature, pressure and/or chemical changes. But chemical reactions are not. So any chemical changes to the mixture would be dependent on the chemical nature of what was added and in what concentration and at what temperature, pressure, humidity, etc. All radioactivity would remain constant.

    But if you're just throwing a bunch of random radioactive elements in a bowl to see what happens one might argue you should be more concerned about your own sanity than what might actually happen in the bowl. :)
  8. Oct 15, 2017 #7


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    I'm just at the edge of my depth here, so my wording may be a little sloppy.

    The OP is interested in chemical interactions of lanthanides and actinides.
    These elements are so massive, their electron shells are relatively undifferentiated, so physical and chemical properties are all relatively similar. They're chemically hard to separate from each other and so they're often considered simply as a set (i.e. "the lanthanides").

    They might weakly combine chemically, but the bulk materials don't really have any interesting properties. All the really interesting chemistry happens with light molecules that have strong chemical interactions.
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