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Key People:Sir Humphry Davy...(Show more)Related Topics:Chemical elementalkaline-earth metalPsilomelane...(Show more)

barium (Ba), chemical element, one of the alkaline-earth steels of team 2 (IIa) of the periodic table. The facet is offered in metallurgy, and its compound are used in pyrotechnics, petroleum production, and also radiology.

Element Propertiesatomic numberatomic weightmelting pointboiling pointspecific gravityoxidation stateelectron configuration
727 °C (1,341 °F)
1,805 °C (3,281 °F)
3.51 (at 20 °C, or 68 °F)

Occurrence, properties, and uses

Barium, i beg your pardon is slightly harder 보다 lead, has actually a silvery white lustre when freshly cut. It readily oxidizes as soon as exposed come air and also must be defended from oxygen throughout storage. In nature it is constantly found combined with various other elements. The swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele found (1774) a new base (baryta, or barium oxide, BaO) as a minor ingredient in pyrolusite, and from that base he ready some crystals the barium sulfate, i m sorry he sent to Johan Gottlieb Gahn, the discoverer of manganese. A month later on Gahn found that the mineral barite is also composed the barium sulfate, BaSO4. A certain crystalline type of barite discovered near Bologna, Italy, in the early 17th century, after gift heated strongly through charcoal, glowed for a time after ~ exposure to bright light. The phosphorescence the “Bologna stones” to be so unusual that it attractive the fist of countless scientists that the day, consisting of Galileo. Just after the electrical battery became easily accessible could sir Humphry Davy finally isolate (1808) the facet itself by electrolysis.


Barium minerals are dense (e.g., BaSO4, 4.5 grams per cubic centimetre; BaO, 5.7 grams every cubic centimetre), a residential or commercial property that was the source of plenty of of their names and also of the name of the element itself (from the Greek barys, “heavy”). Ironically, metallic barium is comparatively light, only 30 percent denser than aluminum. Its cosmic diversity is estimated as 3.7 atom (on a range where the variety of silicon = 106 atoms). Barium constitutes around 0.03 percent of earth’s crust, chiefly as the mineral barite (also dubbed barytes or hefty spar) and witherite. Between six and eight million loads of barite room mined every year, more than fifty percent of it in China. Lesser amounts are mined in India, the joined States, and Morocco. Commercial manufacturing of barium relies upon the electrolysis of fused barium chloride, but the many effective method is the palliation of the oxide by heating v aluminum or silicon in a high vacuum. A mixture the barium monoxide and peroxide can likewise be offered in the reduction. Just a couple of tons of barium are created each year.

The metal is supplied as a getter in electron tubes come perfect the vacuum by combining with final traces of gases, as a deoxidizer in copper refining, and also as a ingredient in specific alloys. The alloy through nickel readily emits electrons as soon as heated and is used thus in electron tubes and in spark plug electrodes. The detection that barium (atomic number 56) after uranium (atomic number 92) had actually been bombarded by neutrons to be the reservation that resulted in the recognition of nuclear fission in 1939.

Naturally arising barium is a mixture of 6 stable isotopes: barium-138 (71.7 percent), barium-137 (11.2 percent), barium-136 (7.8 percent), barium-135 (6.6 percent), barium-134 (2.4 percent), and also barium-132 (0.10 percent). Barium-130 (0.11 percent) is also naturally arising but undergoes degeneration by twin electron capture with very long half-life (more 보다 4 × 1021 years). Much more than 30 radioactive isotopes of barium room known, with mass numbers ranging from 114 come 153. The isotope v the longest half-life (barium-133, 10.5 years) is supplied as a gamma-ray recommendation source.


In that is compounds, barium has an oxidation state that +2. The Ba2+ ion may be precipitated from solution by the addition of carbonate (CO32−), sulfate (SO42−), chromate (CrO42−), or phosphate (PO43−) anions. All soluble barium compounds are toxic to mammals, more than likely by interfering through the functioning of potassium ion channels.

Barium sulfate (BaSO4) is a white, hefty insoluble powder that occurs in nature as the mineral barite. Nearly 80 percent of world consumption of barium sulfate is in drilling muds because that oil. It is likewise used as a colours in paints, whereby it is recognized as blanc fixe (i.e., “permanent white”) or together lithopone when blended with zinc sulfide. The sulfate is widely supplied as a filler in document and rubber and finds critical application together an opaque tool in the X-ray examination of the cradle tract.

Most barium compound are developed from the sulfate via palliation to the sulfide, which is then offered to prepare various other barium derivatives. Around 75 percent of every barium carbonate (BaCO3) goes into the to produce of specialty glass, one of two people to increase its refractive index or to carry out radiation shielding in cathode-ray and also television tubes. The carbonate additionally is provided to make other barium chemicals, as a flux in ceramics, in the produce of ceramic permanent magnets because that loudspeakers, and also in the remove of sulfate indigenous salt brines before they space fed into electrolytic cell (for the manufacturing of chlorine and alkali). On heating, the carbonate forms barium oxide, BaO, which is to work in the preparation of cuprate-based high-temperature superconductors such together YBa2Cu3O7−x. Another complicated oxide, barium titanate (BaTiO3), is used in capacitors, together a piezoelectric material, and in nonlinear optical applications.

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Barium chloride (BaCl2·2H2O), consisting of colourless crystals that are soluble in water, is offered in heat-treating baths and in laboratories together a chemistry reagent to precipitate soluble sulfates. Although brittle, crystalline barium fluoride (BaF2) is transparent to a broad an ar of the electromagnetic spectrum and also is provided to make optical lenses and also windows because that infrared spectroscopy. The oxygen compound barium peroxide (BaO2) was offered in the 19th century because that oxygen production (the Brin process) and also as a source of hydrogen peroxide. Volatile barium compounds impart a yellowish green colour to a flame, the emitted light gift of largely two characteristic wavelengths. Barium nitrate, developed with the nitrogen-oxygen team NO3−, and also chlorate, formed with the chlorine-oxygen group ClO3−, are offered for this impact in environment-friendly signal flares and fireworks.