Rutherfordium is a chemical element in the Periodic Table marked with the atomic number of 104 and with the chemical symbol Rf. This chemical element belongs to period 7 elements and the Transition Metals category. Similar to the rest of the Transition Metal elements Rutherfordium possesses various metallic properties. In the Periodic Table Rutherfordium is preceded by Lawrencium and is followed by Dubnium.


When it comes to its physical and chemical properties this particular Transition Metal is only partly characterized. Rutherfordium is a synthetic chemical element and does not exist freely in nature as an actual free element. This Transition Metal is among the rarest synthetic elements in the Periodic Table, as its most stable isotope has an extremely short half-life of around 1.3 hours. Rutherfordium is a radioactive element and it does not play any known biological roles for human beings or other types of living organisms on Earth. The only known applications of this chemical element are for scientific research, as the element itself is still being observed as the subject of various contradictions, predictions and overall instability.


Physical Characteristics of Rutherfordium

In terms of physical characteristics Rutherfordium is a quite dubious chemical element. It possesses some metallic properties as it belongs to the Transition Metals category. It is believed that Rutherfordium is a solid metallic element under normal conditions. However, some experiments have proven that it can exist in a gas phase, as well as in an aqueous phase. Similar to its nearest Transition Metal element, Hafnium, Rutherfordium is supposed to crystalize in a typical hexagonal close-packed crystal structure. Experiments have shown that this element is among the densest chemical elements and that its melting and boiling points should be noteworthy high – around 2400 K and 5800 K in their respective order.


Chemical Properties of Rutherfordium


Atomic Number – 104

Group – 4

Period – 7

Block – d

Electronic Configuration – 5f14 6d2 7s2

Relative Atomic Mass – 261 (261 g/mol)

Molecular Weight – 261

Electronegativity – unknown

Density (G CM-3) – 23.2 g/cm3 at room temperature

Melting Point – 2400 K; 2100 °C; 3800 °F

Boiling Point – 5800 K; 5500 °C; 9900 °F

Atomic Radius – 150 pm

Isotopes – 0

Electronic Shell – 2, 8, 18, 32, 32, 10, 2


Discovery of Rutherfordium

A team of Russian scientists discovered the element Rutherfordium in the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, back in 1964. At that time the team of scientists created the synthetic element with the initiative of bombarding Plutonium with Neon. Five years later, in 1969, a different team of scientists from the University of California in Berkeley, California also discovered the same element – independently from the Russian team. The American researchers did so by bombarding Californium with Carbon.


The Russian researchers proposed the name Kurchatovium and the American team proposed Rutherfordium. After a long and much debated controversy over the name the newly discovered element was finally named Rurtherfordium in honor of the New Zealand physicist Earnest Rutherford.


Recognized by: Joint Institute of Nuclear Research (1964)

Known and discovered by: Joint Institute of Nuclear Research (1964)

Named by: University of California


Uses and role of Rutherfordium

Due to the fact that most physical and chemical properties of Rutherfordium are still being investigated and researched, at this point the element does not have any other uses and roles apart from pure scientific research.


Rutherfordium on Earth

Rutherfordium is a synthetic chemical element – it is a product of artificial creation. As such, it does not occur on Earth in any actual form.