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Uses of Radium

Radium does have some commercial and industrial uses but because radium is  such 

a highly radioactive element it has very few uses. The main commercial source for  

radium is pitchblende, a uranium ore also uraninite, carnotite and autunite are sources  

for it. Radium bromide is the most important radium compound in that it is used as a  

source of alpha - rays for the localized treatment of small cancers. Radon a product of  

radium decomposition is used in radiotherapy and due to its short half-life (4 days) it  

can only be obtained in very small amounts. Today radium is used in the treatment of 

only a few types of cancer. Radium chloride or radium bromide is enclosed in a sealed 

tube and inserted in the diseased tissue. When the effects of radiation weren't well 

known, small amounts of it were used in the production of luminous paint, clock dials, 

doorknobs, and other objects, to make them visible in the dark. One of the uses of 

radium in industry is, radium sulphate is used in radiographic testing instruments used 

to detect flaws in metals. Another industrial use is to mix radium and  beryllium to 

obtain source of neutrons, to geophysical prospect for petroleum. All isotopes of 

radium are radioactive and there is only ever any need to make radium metal on very 

small scales for research purposes. The element is used and handled in the form of 

radium chloride or radium bromide and practically never in the metallic state.