How Much Does Astatine Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

Astatine is a semi-metallic chemical element that is classified among the halogen family in the periodic table of elements, identified as the symbol At. This element is atomic number 85 and is the heaviest of the halogens.

How much does astatine cost per gram?

Since it’s so rare, it isn’t available to the public and no costs have ever been recorded.  Even if you were able to buy, it could cost a fortune since it has a short lifespan and wouldn’t last long in a controlled setting.

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Astatine is a member of the halogens, which are elements in Group VIIA (17) of the periodic table. All Astatine isotopes are radioactive and decay into other substances. For this reason, the properties of the element are difficult to study.

What is known is that Astatine has similar properties to those of the other halogens—iodine, bromine, chlorine and fluorine. Of the halogens, this element is the least reactive and behaves closer to metals compared to the other halogens. Since it is so rare, Astatine essentially has no uses.

Astatine can be found naturally occurring in small amounts, but most of the Astatine used is synthetically produced in laboratories. Astatine appears in the Earth’s crust whenever the radioactive elements thorium and uranium decay.

It could be artificially made, only with great difficulty and by one estimate, not more than a millionth-of-a-gram of this element has ever been produced in the lab. Some researchers suspect that Astatine isotopes can be potentially useful in medical imaging research, particularly astatine 211. The short life of Astatine makes it challenging to study since it is difficult to obtain and it does not last long.

The discovery of Astatine was announced by Fred Allison and E.J. Murphy in 1931. By 1940, a team of scientists from California had managed to create the 211-isotope. Naturally, the naturally occurring astatine is found in uranium ores.

In its purest form, Astatine seems to assume a solid state, and it appears to share a number of chemical properties with iodine, which is a closely related element. Scientists believe, for instance, that astatine is capable of accumulating in thyroid glands like iodine does.

Like other radioactive elements, astatine does pose a human health risk and can cause radiation damage to body cells in individuals who are exposed to it with no adequate protection. Luckily, consumers do not usually need to worry about this danger due to its rarity, and in labs, the people who work with this element receive proper training in handling radioactive substances. Since it can collect in the thyroid gland, people working with astatine are particularly careful around it to ensure that they don’t do long-term damage to their bodies.

Astatine is the rarest naturally occurring element found in the universe with scientists believing that no more than around one ounce of it naturally exists on the surface of the earth at any given time.

It is radioactive and particularly unstable, with a half-life of about eight hours. This element is incredibly rare as a result of its instability. It is also possible to produce this element and a number of its isotopes in a lab setting by bombarding bismuth with alpha particles.

Because this element is so rare, it doesn’t have any commercial uses. Consumers almost certainly never interact with Astatine, although scientists often do. Similar to other elements, Astatine has been the subject of extensive investigation in laboratory settings since scientists are interested in learning more with regards to all of the elements found on Earth.

It astatine a metal?  Even though astatine is placed with the metalloids or the nonmetals by different authors based on its position within the periodic table, it is considered to be so unstable in its element form, so scientists have varying answers.


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