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More About Barium

Group II : The Alkali Earth Metals
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Barium

What the name means: The word barium derives from the Greek word barys, meaning "heavy".

Barium

Barium atom

Barium atom

 

 

 

Barium ion

 

Barium ion

 

Who identified barium?: Mineral samples containing barium compounds were described by various alchemists and chemists since the 17th century. In 1602, a part-time Italian alchemist named Vincenzo Casariolo wrote about a substance he produced in an experiment that glowed in the dark. This substance was known by the names Bologna Stone and Sunstone.

In 1774, the Swedish chemist, Wilhelm Scheele observed crystals of a "heavy earth spar" in a mineral sample he had analysed (the word spar was used to describe a mineral with bright crystals). His colleague in Germany, Johan Gottlieb Gahn, also analysed a sample of the same mineral, pryolusite ore, and he came to the conclusion that Bologna Stone, Sunstone and "heavy earth spar" were one in the same. The name adopted by 18th century chemists was baryte (barium sulphate, as we now know it). Other compounds containing barium were named in a similar fashion; baryta, named by Antoine Lavoisier (barium hydroxide) and barote, named by Guyton de Morveau (barium oxide).

The identification of the element barium is attributed to Humphry Davy who, in 1808, used electrolysis to separate barium metal from one of its compounds

 

Properties

BAPROPS

STP = standard temperature and pressure.
Usually considered as room temperature and pressure.

 

About barium: Barium is not found as the free element in nature since it is too reactive. Extracted barium metal is soft and silvery-looking. It has to be stored under oil or petroleum to prevent it from reacting with the oxygen in the air. Barium sulphate is used in medicine in "barium meals" that are usually taken before an X-ray examination of the alimentary canal. Barium nitrate is used in fireworks to produce a green colour display.

 

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