[Kr] 5s2
86Sr, 87Sr, 88Sr
2, 8, 18, 8, 2
777°C, 1431°F, 1050 K
1377°C, 2511°F, 1650 K
Adair Crawford
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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

Marine buoys equipped with Strontium aluminate-based lamps are essential for marking navigation channels, alerting vessels to hazards, and guiding ships safely, especially in low-visibility conditions.


A soft, silvery metal that burns in air and reacts with water.


Shining a Spotlight on Strontium: Its Diverse and Illuminating Uses

Nestled within the periodic table, Strontium (Sr) may not be a household name, but its remarkable versatility and luminescent properties have led to an array of fascinating and practical applications. This unassuming alkaline earth metal, with atomic number 38, has a rich history of scientific discovery and a wide range of uses across diverse fields. In this article, we will embark on a journey to explore the intriguing and illuminating uses of Strontium, shedding light on its indispensable role in our modern world.


The Elemental Identity of Strontium

Before we dive into the myriad applications of Strontium, let's acquaint ourselves with this element. Strontium is a soft, silvery-white metal found in the same chemical family as calcium and barium. It is identified on the periodic table by its atomic number, 38, and is known for its strong reactivity with water and air. Strontium shares some properties with calcium, making it biologically important, and its isotopes are found in trace amounts in certain minerals. While its natural occurrence may be relatively limited, Strontium has been harnessed for various applications due to its luminescent properties.


Strontium in Fireworks

Strontium plays a significant role in the world of pyrotechnics, specifically in fireworks. The brilliant red hues that light up the night sky in many firework displays are often a result of Strontium compounds being used as a key component. When Strontium salts are ignited, they emit vibrant red flames, making Strontium a go-to choice for creating dazzling visual effects during celebrations and festivities.


Strontium in Radioactive Dating

Strontium also finds application in the realm of geology and archaeology through radioactive dating methods. One such method is radiometric dating, which uses the decay of certain radioactive isotopes to determine the age of rocks and minerals. Strontium-87, one of Strontium's isotopes, decays into stable isotopes over time, and its presence can be used to date the formation of rocks and minerals, shedding light on the Earth's geological history.


Strontium in Medical Imaging

Strontium ranelate, a compound of Strontium, has been used in the field of medicine to treat osteoporosis, a condition characterized by reduced bone density. It not only helps increase bone mass but also decreases the risk of fractures. While it's not without controversy due to potential side effects, Strontium's role in bone health is a testament to its biological relevance.


Strontium in Luminescent Materials

One of the most intriguing and versatile applications of Strontium is its use in luminescent materials. Strontium aluminate, when doped with other elements, becomes a potent phosphorescent material. This means it can absorb and store energy when exposed to light and then slowly release that energy in the form of visible light. Strontium aluminate-based phosphorescent materials have a long afterglow, making them ideal for a range of applications.

A. Glow-in-the-Dark Products

You might have encountered glow-in-the-dark products like watches, toys, and emergency exit signs. These items often use Strontium aluminate-based phosphorescent pigments to provide illumination without the need for an external power source. The applications extend to safety signage and markers in low-light conditions.

B. Glow-in-the-Dark Paints

Artists and craftsmen have embraced Strontium aluminate-based glow-in-the-dark paints to create unique and visually stunning artwork. These paints can be used on various surfaces, adding a touch of luminescence to decorative elements, home décor, and even vehicle customization.

C. Luminous Watch Dials

Strontium-based phosphorescent materials are widely used in watchmaking, where they enhance the visibility of watch dials in the dark. These materials store energy from ambient light during the day and emit a gentle, long-lasting glow throughout the night, ensuring accurate timekeeping, even in low-light conditions.


Strontium in Electronic Displays

Strontium is also employed in electronic displays, particularly in cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and flat-panel displays. CRTs are still used in older television sets and computer monitors. Strontium oxide, when combined with other compounds, has been used in the manufacture of the electron gun, a critical component in CRTs that controls the electron beam's emission.


Strontium in Industrial Uses

Strontium carbonate, a compound of Strontium, has a multitude of industrial applications. It is utilized in the production of ferrite magnets, which are essential components in electric motors, speakers, and various electronic devices. Strontium carbonate also finds use in the ceramics industry for the production of glazes, as well as in the refining of zinc.



The versatile element Strontium may not be a household name, but its unique properties and wide-ranging applications have left an indelible mark on various industries and fields. From illuminating the night sky in fireworks to helping unravel the Earth's geological history through radiometric dating, Strontium has proven its worth time and again.

Its role in medical treatments, luminescent materials, and electronic displays further highlights the diverse and impactful nature of this unassuming element. Strontium's ability to emit light and its invaluable contributions to art, science, and technology make it an element of enduring significance. As we continue to explore and harness its potential, Strontium's legacy in shaping our modern world remains bright and ever-glowing.


In the grand tapestry of elements, Strontium (Sr) may not command the spotlight like its more famous counterparts, but its history is a shining example of scientific exploration, innovation, and diverse applications. This unassuming alkaline earth metal, with atomic number 38, boasts a history that spans centuries, from its initial discovery to its modern-day utilization in a multitude of fields. Join us on a journey through time as we uncover the illuminating history of Strontium, an element that continues to light up our world.


The Quest for Strontium

The history of Strontium begins in the 18th century, in the midst of the European Enlightenment, a period marked by great intellectual curiosity and scientific progress. Scottish physician and chemist Adair Crawford first observed the presence of a new mineral in lead mines near the Scottish village of Strontian in 1790. This mineral was later named strontianite in honor of the village, and it was found to contain a previously unknown element.

Strontianite, chemically known as strontium carbonate (SrCO3), drew the attention of chemists and scientists across Europe. Among them, the eminent Irish chemist and physicist Sir Humphry Davy took an interest in the mysterious mineral. Davy was renowned for his groundbreaking work in the field of electrochemistry, and he set his sights on isolating the elusive element.


The Isolation of Strontium

In 1808, Sir Humphry Davy succeeded in isolating Strontium by using a method known as electrolysis. This process involved passing an electric current through a molten mixture of strontium carbonate and mercuric oxide. The resulting product was a new metallic element, which he named Strontium, after the village where the mineral had been discovered.

Davy's isolation of Strontium marked a pivotal moment in the history of chemistry. The element's discovery expanded our understanding of the periodic table, and it contributed to the classification of elements into distinct groups based on their chemical properties.


Strontium's Unique Properties

Strontium, as an alkaline earth metal, shares certain properties with elements like calcium and barium. It is a soft, silvery-white metal that oxidizes rapidly when exposed to air. Strontium compounds are also known for their brilliant red flames when burned, a characteristic that would later find applications in pyrotechnics.

One of the most remarkable properties of Strontium is its ability to produce intense and sustained luminescence. This property was discovered in the 19th century, leading to Strontium's role in creating glow-in-the-dark materials and various forms of illumination.


Strontium and Geology

As the 19th century progressed, Strontium found applications beyond the laboratory. Its isotopes, particularly Strontium-87, became pivotal tools in the field of geology and radioactive dating. Strontium-87, a radioactive isotope, decays over time into stable isotopes, making it useful for dating the age of rocks and minerals. By measuring the ratio of Strontium-87 to its decay product, scientists gained insights into the Earth's geological history.

This dating method allowed geologists to determine the ages of various rock formations and contributed to our understanding of the Earth's past. It also provided valuable information in the study of continental drift and plate tectonics.


Strontium in Medicine

Strontium's role in the medical field became evident in the 20th century. Strontium ranelate, a compound of Strontium, gained attention for its potential in treating osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weakened bones and an increased risk of fractures. Strontium ranelate was shown to help increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures, offering hope to individuals suffering from this condition.

However, it's worth noting that the use of Strontium ranelate is not without controversy due to potential side effects, and its medical applications are subject to ongoing research and evaluation.


Strontium in Luminescence

The luminescent properties of Strontium have led to its extensive use in creating glow-in-the-dark materials. Strontium aluminate, when doped with other elements, can absorb and store energy from ambient light, subsequently releasing it in the form of visible light. This property allows for the production of long-lasting, phosphorescent materials.


A. Glow-in-the-Dark Products

Strontium aluminate-based phosphorescent pigments are widely used in products such as glow-in-the-dark watches, toys, and emergency exit signs. These items absorb light during the day and emit a soft, steady glow throughout the night. They serve practical purposes in low-light conditions and emergency situations.


B. Luminous Art and Design

Strontium aluminate-based glow-in-the-dark paints have found favor among artists, craftsmen, and designers. These paints can be applied to various surfaces, including canvases, textiles, home décor, and even vehicles. The result is captivating artwork that lights up the night with its luminescent beauty.


C. Luminous Watch Dials

The watchmaking industry has embraced Strontium-based phosphorescent materials for creating luminous watch dials. These materials provide readability in the dark, and they have become a standard feature in many timepieces. They absorb ambient light and emit a gentle glow, ensuring accurate timekeeping even when the lights go out.


Strontium in Electronics

Strontium's applications extend to the world of electronics, particularly in cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and flat-panel displays. CRTs, which were commonly used in older television sets and computer monitors, rely on Strontium oxide combined with other compounds to create the electron gun, a critical component that controls the emission of electrons within the tube.


Strontium, a once-mysterious element isolated from the strontianite mineral in a Scottish village, has journeyed through history to become an element of great importance in various fields. From its discovery by Sir Humphry Davy to its applications in geology, medicine, luminescence, and electronics, Strontium has left an indelible mark on science, industry, and art.

As we continue to explore and harness its unique properties, Strontium's journey continues, offering new possibilities and applications that illuminate our world. Its history stands as a testament to the enduring potential of scientific discovery, where even the most unassuming elements play a pivotal role in shaping our modern world.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 2.49
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): 4.631
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.90
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 0.95
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
549.47 1064.243 4138.26 5500 6908.4 8760.9 10227 11800.2

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 1
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
84Sr 83.913 0.56 - -
86Sr 85.909 9.86 - -
87Sr 86.909 7 - -
88Sr 87.906 82.58 - -

Supply Risk

Relative Supply Risk: 8.6
Crustal Abundance (ppm): 320
Recycle Rate (%): <10
Production Conc.(%) : 83
Top 3 Producers:
1) China
2) Spain
3) Mexico
Top 3 Reserve Holders:
1) China
Substitutability: Unknown
Political Stability of Top Producer: 24.1
Political Stability of Top Reserve Holder: 24.1

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: 306
Shear Modulus: Unknown
Young Modulus: Unknown
Bulk Modulus: Unknown
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
4.99 x 10-11 0.000429 1.134 121 - - - - - - Unknown


Transcript :

Strontium is a chemical element and a member of group 2, or the group of alkaline earth metals in the periodic table. A radioactive isotope of Strontium is not known to cause harm but it is considered to be a potential health risk. This is because it is produced through a fission reaction of Plutonium and Uranium. A large amount of the radioactive isotope Strontium 90 was released during the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. It forms red candle flames and is one of the most reactive alkaline earth metals.

Strontium has three allotropic crystalline types. The most common is the cubic centered structure. There are also hexagonal-dense sphere packing and copper-type space group crystalline structures. The half-life of the isotope is very long. This makes it an ideal candidate for superficial radiotherapy. A study of Strontium in human patients was conducted in the late 1940s. The study was carried out to evaluate the safety profile of this element. It is not a cheap or common element, and it can be contaminated by other compounds.

Strontium was discovered in 1790 by Adair Crawford in Scotland. It was originally a mineral named strontia. In 1808, Sir Humphry Davy isolated and purified it. During the 1970s, nuclear tests generated a radioactive isotope of Strontium-90. This is a beta emitter with a half-life of 29 years.

Strontium is an important element found in the earth's crust. It is found naturally in many parts of the environment, including seawater. It is the 15th most abundant element on Earth. It occurs in various forms. In nature, it is found in many compartments of the environment. Strontium is present in the soil in relatively low concentrations. However, this element is known that some of it can migrate through the soil into groundwater. Well, this is not a good thing for humans. However, the production of Strontium is not a threat to human health.

This element is mainly concentrated in hydroxyapatite and occurs naturally in a number of minerals. Its major compounds are Strontium Carbonate. In nature, it occurs in marine fossils and in celestine, a sulfate mineral. Celestine is a valuable commercial source for Strontium. It is also found in calcareous rocks.

Strontium has a chemical similarity to calcium and will replace calcium as the mineral in bone. Because its atom is heavier than calcium atom, swapping some of the calcium atoms with strontium atoms will make the bone mineral density appear to increase. This is not the same as making new bone. A special form of Strontium called Strontium ranelate can increase bone formation and prevent bone loss when used in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

When it is submerged in water, it produces hydrogen gas. The ionic radius of Strontium is similar to that of calcium. As such, it reacts with calcium to increase the excretion of calcium from the kidneys. This element is similar to calcium and Sulfur in its properties. Unlike calcium, it does not form a solid but rather a liquid. Strontium has a much higher affinity for nitrogen. The atoms of Strontium are much larger than the atoms of calcium.

It also reacts with air to form a pale-yellow film on the element. Its optical dispersion is greater than that of diamond, and it is readily scratched. Although it is a soft bright silvery metal and it can be cut using a knife.

Strontium is used in a number of ways. For example, it can be used to make permanent ceramic magnets. Luminescent paints and other electronic devices also use Strontium. It is also used to produce electricity for space vehicles and navigation buoys. Some of the radioactive isotopes of this metal are used in cancer therapy and bone cancer. Strontium compounds are used in fireworks yielding deep red colour. They are also used to make luminous paints, as well as phosphors for electroluminescent devices. It is rarely used due to its higher cost. In addition, Strontium carbonate is becoming less and less important as flat panel technologies come into use.

This alkaline earth metal is an effective oxidizer, and is sometimes used in hair bleaching products. Additionally, it is a useful alloying agent for magnesium. Added Strontium in Mg alloys can improve creep resistance, ductility, and the distribution of alloying elements.

Some of the most common applications of Strontium are in fireworks, in the refining of zinc, and in the production of ferrite magnets. Besides these, this element is often added to glass to prevent the emission of X-rays from television picture tubes. Last but not least, It is also used in glass screens of color televisions and in toothpastes for sensitive teeth.


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