The element plutonium, atomic number 94, is found in nature only in very small quantities. It is an extremely toxic and radioactive metal used to make nuclear weapons. When ingested or inhaled, plutonium can poison the lungs and bones of people and animals. It is also very difficult to get rid of once inside the body, making it an important poison in nuclear weapons.
Plutonium tastes metallic, but it does not have an odor. It can be found in a variety of compounds, including plutonium dioxide, plutonium nitride, and plutonium carbide. These compounds have different chemical properties, but they all contain plutonium.
A gram of plutonium, when inhaled, will kill most mammals. This is because it can cause lung cancer by releasing ionizing radiation (alpha particles) from its decay. These ions can kill cells in the lungs, leading to a buildup of scar tissue and eventually cancer. Plutonium can also pass from the lungs into other organs, such as the kidneys and liver, where it will be concentrated and irradiated. It can also pass from the blood into the intestines and stomach, where it will be excreted in the feces.
Pure plutonium is a silvery metal, but it quickly turns dull gray in air or water. It is hard and brittle, but it can be made into many types of useful chemicals by reacting with carbon, nitrogen, silicon, and some halogen elements. It is a good conductor of heat at high temperatures and is used in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons because they need very hot temperatures to work properly.