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How to Prepare Powdered Uranium Oxide

Uranium is a highly reactive metal. The principal deposits of uranium ores in the United States are located on the Colorado Plateau in western Colorado and southeastern Arizona. Its properties are characterized by its high oxidation capacity and a tendency to tarnish in air. In the hexavalent oxidation state, uranium forms hydrous compounds.

Uranium is also a highly toxic metal. It reacts with nitric acid to produce a dark oxide layer. As a result, the metal is insoluble in alkali. An alternative to preparing uranium metal by electrochemical methods is the hot isostatic pressing technique.

The method was developed by H. Moissan in 1893. He used a metallic tube to prepare uranium metal, which was then heated to 400 degC. After the ingot cooled and the powder was separated from the liquid portion, the solid was ignited and analyzed by XRD. Using the XRD pattern, it was determined that a-U was present.

A second method of producing uranium metal was reported by Martinot et al. They used a DMSO2 solution to reduce U(IV). Several factors affect the rate of the reaction, including the amount of Mg metal tapped into the graphite crucible, the oxide content of UF4, the free acid concentration in UF4, and the initial pH.

In a similar study, a uranyl difluoride was prepared from the oxidation of UF4 by oxygen. Ammonia was precipitated from the precipitate, which then was used to produce powdered uranium oxide.

A calciothermic reduction experiment was also performed to investigate the properties of the product. First, a U-Hg amalgam was prepared and weighed. Secondly, it was heated in a crucible under an argon atmosphere.

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