Saturday, July 14, 2012

Halogens in space - Iodine

Wikipedia tells
Iodine is a chemical element with symbol I and atomic number 53. The name is from Greek ἰοειδής ioeidēs, meaning violet or purple, due to the color of elemental iodine vapor.

Iodine is rare in the solar system and Earth's crust (47–60th in abundance); however, iodide salts are often very soluble in water. Iodine occurs in slightly greater concentrations in seawater than in rocks, 0.05 vs. 0.04 ppm. Iodine is found on Earth mainly as the highly water-soluble iodide I-, which concentrates it in oceans and brine pools.

Like the other halogens, free iodine occurs mainly as a diatomic molecule I2, and then only momentarily after being oxidized from iodide by an oxidant like free oxygen.

However, its presence in ocean water has given it a role in biology. It is the heaviest essential element utilized widely by life in biological functions (only tungsten, employed in enzymes by a few species of bacteria, is heavier).

Iodine's relatively high atomic number, low toxicity, and ease of attachment to organic compounds have made it a part of many X-ray contrast materials in modern medicine. Iodine has only one stable isotope. A number of iodine radioisotopes are also used in medical applications.

Iodine is required by higher animals, which use it to synthesize thyroid hormones, which contain the element. Because of this function, radioisotopes of iodine are concentrated in the thyroid gland along with nonradioactive iodine. The radioisotope iodine-131, which has a high fission product yield, concentrates in the thyroid, and is one of the most carcinogenic of nuclear fission products.

Iodine's rarity in many soils, due to initial low abundance as a crust-element, and also leaching of soluble iodide by rainwater, has led to many deficiency problems in land animals and inland human populations. Iodine deficiency affects about two billion people and is the leading preventable cause of intellectual disabilities.

Structure and bonding
Structure of solid iodine
Iodine normally exists as a diatomic molecule with an I-I bond length of 270 pm, one of the longest single bonds known.

The I2 molecules tend to interact via the weak van der Waals force called the London Forces, and this interaction is responsible for the higher melting point compared to more compact halogens, which are also diatomic. Since the atomic size of Iodine is larger, its melting point is higher.

The solid crystallizes as orthorhombic crystals. The I-I bond is relatively weak, with a bond dissociation energy of 36 kcal/mol, and most bonds to iodine are weaker than for the lighter halides. One consequence of this weak bonding is the relatively high tendency of I2 molecules to dissociate into atomic iodine.
Read the entire article from wikipedia

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