Strontium is a chemical element in the Periodic Table marked with the atomic number of 38 and with the chemical symbol Sr. This chemical element belongs to period 5 elements and the Alkaline Earth Metals category. Similar to the rest of the Alkaline Earth Metal elements Strontium possesses various metallic properties. In the Periodic Table Strontium is preceded by Rubidium and is followed by Yttrium.
Strontium is a soft metallic element with silvery-white hues, which turn to yellow-ish when it’s exposed to air. Its physical and chemical characteristics mimic the ones of other Alkaline Earth Metals. This particular chemical element can be found in its natural state in minerals like Celestine, putnisite, and strontianite. Its natural state and its synthetic isotopes are stable. Strontium is significantly reactive compared to other chemical elements. It is also pyrophoric. This chemical element can also be found in biological organisms and has various commercial applications mainly in pyrotechnics, glass manufacturing, and medicine, as well as several scientific applications.
Physical Characteristics of Strontium
In terms of physical characteristics Strontium is a typical Alkaline Earth Metal element. It is soft and appears in a silvery-white color. When Strontium is exposed to air it turns yellow-ish. This metallic element exists in a solid physical state with a face-centered cubic crystal structure. Due to its high reactivity Strontium must be stored in a container with kerosene, mineral oil or other type of liquid hydrocarbon. This Alkaline Earth Metal has high melting and boiling points and burns with a bright red color when subjected to a flame test.
Chemical Properties of Strontium
Atomic Number – 38
Group – 2
Period – 5
Block – s
Electronic Configuration – 5s2
Relative Atomic Mass – 87.62 (87.621 g/mol)
Molecular Weight – 87.62
Electronegativity – 0.95
Density (G CM-3) – 2.64 g/cm3 at room temperature; 2.375 g/cm3 in liquid state
Melting Point – 1050 K; 777 °C; 1431 °F
Boiling Point – 1650 K; 1377 °C; 2511 °F
Atomic Radius – 215 pm
Isotopes – 4
Electronic Shell – 2, 8, 18, 8, 2
Discovery of Strontium
The element Strontium was discovered back in 1787 by a Scottish chemist and military surgeon, named William Cruickshank. The chemical element was discovered in some ores in lead mines located in the area of the village of Strontian in Scotland. Another local chemist and physician, named Thomas Charles Hope, proposed the name Strontites for the newly discovered element in 1793, naming it after the village Strontian. The element was later renamed to Strontium.
The very first isolation of Strontium was carried out in 1808 by a Cornish chemist and inventor, named Humphry Davy, who used electrolysis.
Recognized by: William Cruickshank (1787)
Known and discovered by: William Cruickshank (1787)
Named by: Thomas Charles Hope (1793)
Uses and role of Strontium
Strontium plays an important biological role in human beings and other types of living organisms as an essential part of their bone structures. Apart from this role, this Alkaline Earth Metal also has various commercial uses.
The most common and widespread application of Strontium is in glass manufacturing for TVs, computers, screens. This industry consumes up to 75% of the overall global production of Strontium. This element also plays an important role in pyrotechnics, optics and magnet production. Furthermore, it has a large variety of scientific and medical purposes – special toothpastes for sensitive teeth, radiotherapy, radiopharmaceuticals, treatments for lead poisoning, and so on.
Strontium on Earth
Strontium is quite abundant on Earth. It can be found in all living organisms on our planet, as well as in the Earth’s crust. This Alkaline Earth Metal element exists in its natural state and can be found mostly in minerals like Celestine, putnisite, and strontianite. Strontium is considered to be the 15th most abundant of all chemical elements in the Periodic Table on Earth and it’s also found in tiny traces in ground-waters and oceans. China is the largest producer of Strontium in the world.
It has been discovered that a Strontium salt of ranelic acid can help cure osteoporosis. The US does not allow medical experts to prescribe it as medicine, but it is approved in the EU. Furthermore, Strontium is currently being researched as the subject of many scientific studies as it plays a possible role in the neurotransmitter release in neurons.