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The Element Barium

Sir Humphry Davy

"Sir Humphry Davy"

Definition of the Barium Element

A soft, silvery-white alkaline-earth metal, used to deoxidize Copper and in various alloys. Barium oxidizes in air, reacts vigorously with water to form the hydroxide, liberating Hydrogen. The acid-soluble salts of barium are poisonous. The Atomic Number of this element is 56 and the Element Symbol is Ba.

The Properties of the Barium Element
Symbol of Element : Ba
Atomic Number : 56
Atomic Mass: 137.327 amu
Melting Point: 725.0 C - 998.15 K
Boiling Point: 1140.0 C - 1413.15 K
Number of Protons/Electrons : 56
Number of Neutrons in Barium : 81
Crystal Structure: Cubic
Density @ 293 K: 3.51 g/cm3
Color : Silver

What is Barium? Origin / Meaning of the name Barium
Originates from the Greek word 'barys' meaning heavy. The oxide was at first called barote, by Guyton de Morveau, which was changed by Antoine Lavoisier to baryta, which was modified to "barium".

What is Barium? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Barium Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Barium is classified as an "Alkaline Earth Metal" which are located in Group 2 elements of the Periodic Table. An Element classified as an Alkaline Earth Metals are found in the Earths crust, but not in the elemental form as they are so reactive. Instead, they are widely distributed in rock structures. Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals above.

Common properties of Alkaline Earth metals
The elements classed as "Alkaline Earth metals" have the following properties in common:

  • Shiny Solids
  • Two electrons in the outer shell
  • Can conduct heat or electricity
  • Can be formed into sheets

What is Barium?
Properties within each individual group are similar, but nevertheless vary within a group. Generally chemical activity decreases as the period increases a non-metal group and increases as the period increases within a metal group. The first element in a group is always an active metal, the last is always an inactive non-metal.

What is Barium? Occurrence of the Barium Element
Barium occurs in nature largely as barytes, or heavy spar (BaSO4), and witherite (BaCO3). Like strontium, it closely resembles Calcium both in the properties of the metal and in the compounds which it forms.
Extracted from the mineral barite and whiterite
Oxidizes quickly in air

Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 110-6%
% in Sun 110-6%
% in Meteorites 0.00027%
% in Earth's Crust 0.034%
% in Oceans 310-6%
% in Humans 0.00003%

Medical Uses of Barium - Health and Treatments
Interesting information on the Medical Uses of Barium, Health and Treatments. The Barium Test is an x-ray examination using a barium mixture to help locate disorders in the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, and small and large intestines. Such conditions as a peptic ulcer, cancer tumors, colitis, or enlargement of organs that might be causing pressure on the stomach may be readily identified with the use of barium tests.

Associated Uses of Barium
Sparkplugs
Vacuum tubes
Fireworks
Fluorescent lamps
Paint
Rat poison
Medical Given orally as a barium meal or as an enema (enima) , to increase the contrast of medical X-rays of the digestive system
Barium sulfate, hydroxide octahydrate, nitrate, carbonate

The Discovery of Barium
Barium was discovered by in 1774 by Carl Scheele and extracted by Sir Humphry Davy in 1808.

Carl Wilhelm Scheele
Carl Scheele (9 December 1742 21 May 1786) was a German chemist who made a number of important chemical discoveries before many others but was rarely given the credit for his findings. For instance, although Scheele discovered Oxygen Joseph Priestley published his findings first so was given the credit. Carl Scheele also identified molybdenum, Tungsten, barium, hydrogen and Chlorine before Humphry Davy and other scientists.

Sir Humphry Davy
Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) isolated Sodium, Lithium, Potassium, barium, strontium, and calcium by means of electrolysis; demonstrated the elementary nature of chlorine; invented the safety lamp; discovered the stupefying effects of nitrous oxide.

Antoine Lavoisier
Antoine Lavoisier was famous for his care in quantitative experiments, for demonstrating the true nature of combustion, for introducing system into the naming and grouping of chemical substances. Lavoisier was executed in 1794 during the French Revolution.

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Alkaline Earth Metals
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