Polonium

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Polonium, Po, 84, is a short-lived radioactive metal, often found in trace amounts in uranium ore, because it is a decay product of uranium. It was discovered by Marie Curie, along with radium, and it is named after Poland, the place of Marie's birth.

Polonium never had very extensive uses, at one point in about 1929 someone thought that radioactivity would make spark plugs in engines work better, because the ionization makes it easier for the spark plug to "spark", however this never really caught on, and they are no longer produced. Polonium was also used in a brush to clean music records, because the ionization of the polonium's alpha particles would give the brush a negative charge, meaning dust particles would stick to it with barely any provocation.

More recently, polonium was used by a spy to poison someone by adding it to a drink, this proved effective because the alpha rays from polonium do lots of damage if it's inside your body, however outside your body your skin protects you from them fine.

These are my samples!

Polonium Spark Plug

This spark plug produced in the 1940s was advertised as containing polonium, which was a well known name at the time, back when radioactivity was a fresh new science that was thought to be the miracle cure to everything. It might seem useless to put radioactive material in a spark plug, but in all actuality radioactivity ionizes the air around it, and ionized air conducts electricity better, which in this case means it's more likely to make better sparks. It's unlikely this tiny amount actually did much, and polonium has a half life of only 138 days, so after a year the effects would be gone either way... Almost 70 years old now.

Date added(year-month-day):20110727, sample number:39

Tags(Elements in sample):polonium, radioactive

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