Instructables
Picture of How to Obtain and Extract Americium
This instructible shows how to obtain and extract Americium,have fun :)
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: How to Obtain and Extract Americium

Picture of How to Obtain and Extract Americium
Inside inexpensive smoke alarms is a tiny amount of the radioactive element Americium. The isotope used, americium 241, has a half life of 452 years. Since americium 241 decays into the much more stable isotope neptunium 237 (half-life 2.1 million years), the sample in the smoke detector will have a few trillion new neptunium atoms in it every year.

Step 2: How to Obtain and Extract Americium

Picture of How to Obtain and Extract Americium
To get to the sample, we disassemble the smoke detector.

Step 3: How to Obtain and Extract Americium

Picture of How to Obtain and Extract Americium
The chamber that contains the americium sample is usually easy to find and open

Step 4: How to Obtain and Extract Americium

Picture of How to Obtain and Extract Americium
Removing the plastic parts gets us closer to the americium.

Step 5: How to Obtain and Extract Americium

Picture of How to Obtain and Extract Americium
The americium itself, in this smoke detector, is plated onto a small button of metal. Other detectors I have disassembled have the americium plated onto a small disc.

Step 6: How to Obtain and Extract Americium

Picture of How to Obtain and Extract Americium
If you have a geiger counter or a scintillation detector, you can use it to confirm that the sample is radioactive. Since americium 241 emits only alpha particles (and a very small amount of low energy gamma), it is safe if kept in the glass bottle, since alpha particles don't penetrate glass.

Okay,so now you know how to Obtain and Extract  americium :-o
AJMansfield2 years ago
I just checked Wolfram|Alpha and it says that you would need 66kg of Americium to obtain critical mass, and that's assuming its 100% pure, which this isn't. So no chance of making an atomic bomb with this stuff.
fahadshihab2 years ago
Make neutrons and then you can make gold from mercury!!!
Note:this is just a serious idea that just came into my mind.
First ,you should have the main element 196
80
Hg which consists of 0.15% of the naturally occurring mercury
. It is better because 196
80
Hg is much easier to do it.
Then use 241
95
Am and an aluminium f
oil to make a neutron source.Aim neutrons to the target nucleus 196
80
Hg and it will get converted into
197
80
Hg
which is a radioactive element and has a half life of 2 days,16 hours,8 minutes and 24 seconds.You will be surprised to hear this.The decay product of 197
80
Hg is
197
79
Au.this is an idea which i want to truly experiment with but I am not sure
that it will be correct because sometimes  will
197
80
Hg will break like fission of
uranium-235 and I am only 13 years old to do this.

fahadshihab2 years ago
You've just copied it from this site
http://www.scitoys.com/echem/elements/elements.html
this is plagriarism and not allowed on this site
mrmerino2 years ago
Mmm... tumors.
lancruz2 years ago
Ok! Now that I've extracted Americium, what is it good for in it's simplest form besides a smoke detector? Why would anyone want to extract Americium? Just Curious?
Not much, besides the obvious curiosity factor. Some people like the keep rocks and gems, etc. One fun idea is to try and make your own periodic table display with samples of every element.

You can use it, in large quantities, to make a neutron source with a sheet of aluminium. The alpha radiation collides the the Al atoms and kicks off neutrons which you can collimate using a lead box with a hole drilled through it. However, you need 1000+ smoke detectors to get that much. And really there's no reason you should be making neutron sources in your home, but making a neutron diffractometer could be quite interesting though.

It's worth pointing out that you should wash your hands after handling the metal and make sure that you should keep it out of the way of children or anyone who might accidentally swallow it. I doubt the activity of the average smoke detector is particularly high, but ingesting an alpha source can be extremely dangerous if it gets lodged inside you.

Stay safe, kids and don't underestimate the danger of radioactive sources.

I was just going to ask that very same question! LOL