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Strontium Facts

Strontium Chemical & Physical Properties


This is a photo of pure strontium under an argon atmosphere.

This is a photo of pure strontium under an argon atmosphere. Strontium is a bright silvery alkaline earth metal, but it rapidly oxidizes, darkening with a yellowish color.

Matthias Zepper, Public Domain License This is the electron configuration of a strontium atom.

This is the electron configuration of a strontium atom.

This is strontium on the periodic table.

This is strontium on the periodic table.

Todd Helmenstine


Atomic Number: 38

Symbol: Sr

Atomic Weight: 87.62

Discovery: A. Crawford 1790 (Scotland); Davey isolated strontium by electrolysis in 1808

Electron Configuration: [Kr] 5s2

Word Origin: Strontian, a town in Scotland

Isotopes: There are 20 known isotopes of strontium, 4 stable and 16 unstable. Natural strontium is a mixture of the 4 stable isotopes.

Properties: Strontium is softer than calcium and decomposes more vigorously in water. Finely divided strontium metal ignites spontaneously in air. Strontium is a silvery metal, but it rapidly oxidizes to a yellowish color. Because of its propensity for oxidation and ignition, strontium is typically stored under kerosene. Strontium salts color flames crimson and are used in fireworks and flares.

Uses: Strontium-90 is used in Systems for Nuclear Auxilliary Power (SNAP) devices. Strontium is used in producing glass for color television picture tubes. It is also used to produce ferrite magnets and to refine zinc. Strontium titanate is very soft but has an extremely high refractive index and an optical dispersion greater than that of diamond.

Element Classification: alkaline-earth Metal

Density (g/cc): 2.54

Melting Point (K): 1042

Boiling Point (K): 1657

Appearance: silvery, malleable metal

Atomic Radius (pm): 215

Atomic Volume (cc/mol): 33.7

Covalent Radius (pm): 191

Ionic Radius: 112 (+2e)

Specific Heat (@20°C J/g mol): 0.301

Fusion Heat (kJ/mol): 9.20

Evaporation Heat (kJ/mol): 144

Pauling Negativity Number: 0.95

First Ionizing Energy (kJ/mol): 549.0

Oxidation States: 2

Lattice Structure: Face-Centered Cubic


References: Los Alamos National Laboratory (2001), Crescent Chemical Company (2001), Lange's Handbook of Chemistry (1952), CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics (18th Ed.)


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