Strontium Properties, usage, isotopes, methods of production and applications

Strontium Properties

Strontium properties, discovery, usage, isotopes, methods of production, applications, interesting facts, FAQs, Thermal, physical, chemical and magnetic properties

Strontium – An Essential Element for Modern Applications

Introduction: Strontium is a chemical element that belongs to the alkaline earth metals group, located in Group 2 of the periodic table. With the symbol Sr and atomic number 38, it holds both scientific and practical significance. This brief introduction will provide essential information about strontium, including its atomic properties, atomic weight, and valency.

Table: Atomic Properties and Valency of Strontium

Atomic NumberSymbolAtomic Weight (amu)Valency
38Sr87.62+2
Table: Atomic Properties and Valency of Strontium

Explanation:

Atomic Number: Strontium is identified by its atomic number, which is 38. The atomic number represents the number of protons present in an atom’s nucleus and uniquely identifies each element on the periodic table.

Symbol: The chemical symbol for strontium is Sr. This symbol is derived from its Latin name, “strontian,” which is a village in Scotland where the mineral strontianite was first discovered.

Atomic Weight: Strontium has an atomic weight of 87.62 atomic mass units (amu). The atomic weight reflects the average mass of strontium atoms, taking into account the different isotopes and their relative abundances.

Valency: The valency of an element signifies its combining capacity with other elements to form compounds. Strontium typically exhibits a valency of +2. This means that each strontium atom tends to lose two electrons to achieve a stable electron configuration. Consequently, strontium often forms compounds in which it has a positive 2 charge.

Conclusion: In summary, strontium, with its atomic number 38 and symbol Sr, is an alkaline earth metal that possesses a valency of +2. Its atomic weight of 87.62 amu makes it relatively heavy among the elements. Understanding these fundamental properties of strontium is crucial for comprehending its behavior and applications in various scientific, industrial, and medical fields.

Strontium : Discovery, Usage, and Key Points

Discovery:

Strontium was first discovered in 1790 by a Scottish chemist named Adair Crawford, who extracted a new mineral from the lead mines near the village of Strontian in Scotland. The mineral, later named strontianite, was found to contain a previously unknown element. However, it was not until 1808 that Sir Humphry Davy, an English chemist, successfully isolated the metallic form of strontium by electrolysis.

Strontium Properties
Strontium was first discovered in 1790 by JAdair Crawford

Modern Usage:

  1. Fireworks and Pyrotechnics: Strontium compounds, particularly strontium nitrate (Sr(NO3)2) and strontium carbonate (SrCO3), are widely used in fireworks. When ignited, they produce a vibrant red color, enhancing the visual impact of fireworks displays.
  2. Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs): Strontium oxide (SrO) is used in the production of cathode ray tubes, which were once commonly used in television and computer screens. The compound aids in the emission of electrons, facilitating the display of images.
  3. Radioactive Isotopes: Strontium-90, a radioactive isotope of strontium, finds applications in various fields. It is used in medical imaging for bone scans and cancer treatment, as it selectively accumulates in bone tissue.
  4. Glass Manufacturing: Strontium compounds, such as strontium oxide (SrO) and strontium carbonate (SrCO3), are utilized in the production of special glasses. These glasses exhibit increased optical clarity, resistance to radiation, and improved color transmission.
  5. Pyrotechnic Flares: Strontium nitrate (Sr(NO3)2) is employed in pyrotechnic flares, providing a brilliant red illumination for signaling purposes, marine safety, and emergency situations.

Important Points to Remember about Discovery and Usage:

DiscoveryUsage
Discovered by Adair Crawford in 1790Widely used in fireworks and pyrotechnics
Isolated by Humphry Davy in 1808Employed in cathode ray tubes (CRTs)
Mineral named strontianiteRadioactive isotope (Sr-90) used in medical imaging and cancer treatment
Utilized in the production of special glasses
Pyrotechnic flares for signaling and emergency situations
Important Points to Remember about Discovery and Usage:

Strontium Properties and Key Points

Properties:

  1. Physical Properties:
    • Atomic Number: 38
    • Symbol: Sr
    • Atomic Weight: 87.62 atomic mass units (amu)
    • Melting Point: 777°C
    • Boiling Point: 1382°C
    • Density: 2.64 grams per cubic centimeter (at room temperature)
    • Color: Silvery-white, metallic appearance
  2. Chemical Properties:
    • Reactivity: Strontium is a highly reactive metal, although less reactive than calcium and magnesium.
    • Valency: Strontium typically exhibits a valency of +2, readily losing two electrons to achieve a stable electron configuration.
    • Oxidation States: Strontium can exhibit different oxidation states, including +1, +2, and +3, with +2 being the most common.
  3. Atomic Properties:
    • Electron Configuration: [Kr] 5s^2
    • Atomic Radius: 215 picometers (pm)
    • Ionization Energy: The first ionization energy of strontium is 5.69 electron volts (eV).

Important Points to Remember about Properties:

PropertyDescription
Atomic Number38
SymbolSr
Atomic Weight87.62 amu
Melting Point777°C
Boiling Point1382°C
Density2.64 g/cm³
ColorSilvery-white
ReactivityHighly reactive, but less reactive than calcium and magnesium
ValencyTypically +2
Oxidation StatesCan exhibit +1, +2, and +3 oxidation states, with +2 being the most common
Electron Configuration[Kr] 5s²
Atomic Radius215 pm
Ionization EnergyFirst ionization energy: 5.69 eV
Important Points to Remember about Properties:

Strontium Isotopes and Compounds – Exploring Variations and Applications

Isotopes:

Strontium has four naturally occurring isotopes: strontium-84, strontium-86, strontium-87, and strontium-88. These isotopes have different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei, giving rise to their varying atomic masses. Strontium-87 is of particular interest in geochronology and radiometric dating due to its radioactive nature. It undergoes beta decay, transforming into the stable isotope, rubidium-87, with a half-life of approximately 48.8 billion years.

Compounds:

Strontium forms a variety of compounds with different elements due to its chemical reactivity. Here are a few notable compounds:

  1. Strontium Nitrate (Sr(NO3)2):
    • This compound is commonly used in pyrotechnics and fireworks to produce vibrant red colors.
    • It is also employed in the manufacture of red signal flares and marine distress signals.
  2. Strontium Carbonate (SrCO3):
    • Strontium carbonate is utilized in the production of special glasses, such as cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and optical glasses.
    • It can improve the optical properties of glass, making it more transparent and enhancing color transmission.
  3. Strontium Chromate (SrCrO4):
    • Strontium chromate is a yellowish powder that is used as a corrosion inhibitor and as a pigment in paints and coatings.
    • It provides corrosion resistance and imparts a yellow color to the coatings.
  4. Strontium Ranelate (SrRn):
    • Strontium ranelate is a pharmaceutical compound used to treat osteoporosis.
    • It works by stimulating the formation of new bone tissue and inhibiting the breakdown of existing bone.
  5. Strontium Sulfate (SrSO4):
    • Strontium sulfate is often found in nature as the mineral celestine.
    • It is used as a filler in paints, plastics, and rubbers, as well as in the production of ceramics and glass.

Thermal, Physical, Chemical, and Magnetic Properties of Strontium

Thermal Properties:

  • Melting Point: Strontium has a melting point of 777°C, which is relatively low compared to many other metals. This makes it relatively easy to melt and work with in various applications.
  • Boiling Point: The boiling point of strontium is 1382°C. It transitions from a solid to a gas state at this temperature, depending on the surrounding conditions.

Physical Properties:

  • Appearance: Strontium is a silvery-white metal with a lustrous and metallic sheen. It exhibits a similar appearance to other alkaline earth metals.
  • Density: The density of strontium is 2.64 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³) at room temperature, making it relatively dense compared to other elements.
  • Atomic Radius: Strontium has an atomic radius of approximately 215 picometers (pm), indicating the size of its atomic structure.
  • Crystal Structure: Strontium adopts a face-centered cubic crystal structure, where atoms are arranged in a repeating pattern.

Chemical Properties:

  • Reactivity: Strontium is a highly reactive metal, although less reactive than its neighboring alkaline earth metal, calcium. It readily reacts with water, oxygen, and halogens, such as chlorine and iodine, to form various compounds.
  • Oxidation States: Strontium can exhibit different oxidation states, including +1, +2, and +3. However, the most common oxidation state observed is +2, where strontium loses two electrons to achieve a stable electron configuration.
  • Combustibility: When finely divided or powdered, strontium can ignite spontaneously and burn in air, producing a brilliant red flame.

Magnetic Properties:

  • Strontium is not magnetic at standard temperature and pressure. It does not exhibit any significant magnetic properties, as it lacks an unpaired electron in its electron configuration.

Methods of Production and Applications of Strontium

Methods of Production:

  1. Strontium Ore Extraction: Strontium is primarily obtained from the mineral celestine (strontium sulfate) or strontianite (strontium carbonate). These minerals are mined, and the strontium is extracted through a series of processes involving crushing, grinding, flotation, and chemical treatments.
  2. Electrolysis: Another method of producing strontium involves electrolysis. Strontium oxide or strontium chloride is dissolved in molten calcium chloride, and an electric current is passed through the solution. This process allows for the separation of strontium metal from other elements.
  3. Byproduct of Nuclear Fission: Strontium-90, a radioactive isotope of strontium, is produced as a byproduct of nuclear fission in nuclear reactors. It is separated from nuclear waste streams for various applications, such as medical imaging and cancer treatment.

Applications:

  1. Pyrotechnics and Fireworks: Strontium compounds, particularly strontium nitrate, are commonly used in pyrotechnics to produce intense red colors. Strontium salts are responsible for the vibrant red hues seen in fireworks displays.
  2. Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs): In the past, strontium compounds were used in the production of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) for television and computer screens. Strontium oxide facilitated electron emission, allowing for the display of images.
  3. Glass Manufacturing: Strontium compounds, such as strontium oxide and strontium carbonate, are utilized in the production of special glasses. These glasses exhibit improved optical clarity, radiation resistance, and color transmission. They find applications in optics, lenses, and glass fibers.
  4. Medical Applications: Strontium ranelate, a pharmaceutical compound, has been used to treat osteoporosis. It stimulates bone growth and reduces bone resorption, making it beneficial for improving bone density and reducing the risk of fractures.
  5. Radiography and Cancer Treatment: Strontium-90, a radioactive isotope, is used in medical imaging for bone scans and cancer treatment. It selectively accumulates in bone tissue, making it useful for diagnosing bone-related conditions and delivering targeted radiation therapy.
  6. Corrosion Inhibition: Strontium chromate is employed as a corrosion inhibitor in paints, coatings, and primers. It provides protection against corrosion and enhances the durability of metal surfaces.
  7. Pigments and Dyes: Strontium compounds are utilized as pigments and dyes in various applications, including ceramics, plastics, paints, and printing inks. They can impart vibrant colors, such as red, orange, and yellow, to these materials.

Top 10 Countries in Strontium Production, Extraction, and Resource Capacity

the top 10 countries in terms of strontium production, extraction, and resources capacity:

RankCountryProduction (metric tons)Extraction (metric tons)Resources Capacity (metric tons)
1China500080003,000,000
2Spain400050001,500,000
3Mexico30004000900,000
4Iran25003500700,000
5Turkey20003000600,000
6Russia18002500550,000
7Germany15002000400,000
8United States12001500350,000
9Argentina10001200300,000
10Japan8001000250,000
the top 10 countries in terms of strontium production, extraction, and resources capacity:

10 interesting facts about Strontium Properties:

Here are 10 interesting facts about strontium:

  1. Discovery: Strontium was discovered by Adair Crawford and William Cruickshank in 1790 in Scotland. It was named after the Scottish village of Strontian, where the mineral strontianite was first found.
  2. Fireworks Color: Strontium compounds, particularly strontium nitrate, are widely used in fireworks to produce vibrant red colors. The intense red hues seen in fireworks displays are due to the presence of strontium.
  3. Radioactive Isotope: Strontium-90, a radioactive isotope of strontium, is a byproduct of nuclear fission. It has a half-life of around 29 years and is used in medical imaging, cancer treatments, and radiometric dating.
  4. Bone Health: Strontium ranelate, a pharmaceutical compound, has been used to treat osteoporosis. It helps stimulate bone growth and reduces the risk of fractures.
  5. Teeth Sensitivity: Strontium chloride has been used in toothpaste to help alleviate tooth sensitivity. It forms a protective layer over the teeth, reducing pain and discomfort.
  6. Optical Applications: Strontium compounds, such as strontium titanate, have excellent optical properties and are used in the production of lenses, cameras, and other optical devices.
  7. Celestine and Strontianite: Strontium is primarily obtained from the minerals celestine (strontium sulfate) and strontianite (strontium carbonate). These minerals are important sources of strontium in the Earth’s crust.
  8. Nuclear Fallout: Due to its radioactive nature, strontium-90 can pose health risks when released into the environment. During nuclear accidents or weapons testing, strontium-90 can be released into the atmosphere and contaminate the soil and water.
  9. Corrosion Resistance: Strontium chromate is used as a corrosion inhibitor in paints and coatings. It provides protection against corrosion and enhances the durability of metal surfaces.
  10. Crystal Glow: Strontium aluminate, when doped with europium or other rare earth elements, can exhibit phosphorescent properties. It can absorb light and emit it slowly over time, creating a glowing effect commonly used in glow-in-the-dark materials and watches.

10 common but interesting frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Strontium Properties:

Q: Is strontium a metal?

A: Yes, strontium is a chemical element classified as an alkaline earth metal. It shares similarities with other metals in terms of its physical and chemical properties.

Q: Is strontium harmful to humans?

A: Strontium itself is not harmful to humans in small amounts. However, its radioactive isotope, strontium-90, can be hazardous if ingested or inhaled in high concentrations, as it emits radiation.

Q: Can strontium be found in the human body?

A: Yes, trace amounts of strontium can be found naturally in the human body, particularly in bones and teeth. It plays a role in bone metabolism.

Q: What gives strontium its red color?

A: Strontium compounds, such as strontium nitrate, emit a bright red color when heated or ignited. This property is utilized in fireworks to produce vibrant red hues.

Q: Is strontium used in nuclear power generation?

A: Strontium itself is not used in nuclear power generation. However, the radioactive isotope strontium-90 is a byproduct of nuclear fission and is present in nuclear waste.

Q: Can strontium be recycled?

A: Yes, strontium can be recycled from various products, such as cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and other electronic devices. Recycling helps recover valuable strontium resources and reduces environmental impact.

Q: Can strontium compounds be toxic?

A: While most strontium compounds are relatively safe, some may have toxic effects in high concentrations. It is important to handle and use strontium compounds according to safety guidelines.

Q: Does strontium have any medical applications?

A: Yes, strontium ranelate, a pharmaceutical compound containing strontium, has been used to treat osteoporosis by promoting bone growth and reducing bone resorption.

Q: Can strontium affect the environment?

A: Strontium, particularly its radioactive isotope, strontium-90, can be a concern for environmental contamination if released in large quantities. It can contaminate soil and water, posing health risks.

Q: Where is strontium commonly found in nature?

A: Strontium is commonly found in minerals such as celestine (strontium sulfate) and strontianite (strontium carbonate). These minerals are important natural sources of strontium.

Free MCQs for GK and Exam preparations
Free MCQs for GK and Exam preparations

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