Barium Facts

Barium Facts
Barium (Ba) has an atomic number of fifty-six. It is a silvery-white metallic element and is a member of the alkaline-earth metals.
Interesting Barium Facts:
Sir Humphry Davy discovered barium in 1808.
Its name comes from the Greek word meaning "heavy."
Ancient alchemists experimented with barium minerals.
Barium in barite mineral form was part of ancient witchcraft or folklore because the stones would glow after exposure to light.
Barium readily oxidizes in air to produce a dark gray coating.
It reacts exothermically with water to release hydrogen gas.
Barium was identified as an element in barite by Carl Scheele in 1774, but he could not isolate it.
Barium makes up about 0.0425% of the Earth's crust.
It is found on the oceans at around thirteen micrograms per liter.
Barium has six stable isotopes.
One radioactive isotope, Ba-130, has such a long half-life that it was only recently discovered through geochemical methods to be radioactive.
Its half-life is longer than the age of the Universe by as much as one thousand times.
Most of barium's remaining thirty-three known radioactive isotopes have half-lives ranging from several minutes down to only a few milliseconds.
One isotope, Ba-112, is the heaviest discovered atom to have the same numbers of protons and neutrons.
In the late nineteenth century, barium's key commercial use was in the production of pure oxygen.
Barium also plays a key role in radiological reactants, helping internal organs show up on X-ray.
The fluorescent blue mineral benitoite contains barium and is the official gemstone of California.
While barium does not build up in the body and is not a carcinogen, breathing its dust can damage the lungs.
Some compounds of barium are actually toxic and used as industrial poisons.
Barium is used in the production of vacuum tubes, especially for televisions, by removing noble gases due to its low vapor pressure.
It is commonly alloyed with other metals, such as aluminum, tin, lead, and nickel.

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