Strontium is a soft white metal which can be obtained by the high temperature reduction of SrO by Al, or by the electrolysis of the fused halide (a technique which can be used for the alkali group of metals). It has an abundance in the earth’s crust of 370 ppm and is found naturally in celestine (strontium sulphate) and strontianite (strontium carbonate), the mineral in which strontium was originally discovered (its name derives from the area in which this mineral is found, namely Strontian in Argyll, Scotland). It forms a protective stable oxide coating but it will burn in air and reacts with water. The uses for strontium are limited but it is used to manufacture special grades of glass for televisions and monitors. Its compounds have a characteristic crimson colour and are used in fireworks and flares. Strontium has similar chemical properties to calcium and this means that it is able to enter the body in a similar manner. This can result in the destruction of bone marrow if strontium is taken into the bone in place of calcium.


Recognised as an element in 1790 by A. Crawford and was isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1808 in London.

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Atomic number 38 Clip
Atomic / Molecular Weight 87.62 gmol-1Clip
Density 2583 kgm-3Clip
Crystal Structure hcp / fcc at 506K then hcp / bcc at 813K Clip
Lattice constant 608 fmClip
Melting Point 1043 KClip
Boiling Point 1663 KClip
Specific heat capacity 284 Jkg-1K-1Clip
Electromotive Series 2.89 VClip
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See also: Periodic Table.

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Subjects: Chemistry