Properties and Applications

Strontium carbonate, whose chemical formula is SrCO3, is a fine, white powder whose properties are similar to those of calcium carbonate (lime). SrCO3 is very little soluble in water; it dissolves in acids, for example in hydrochloric acid, developing carbon dioxide as follows: SrCO3 + 2 HCl -> SrCl2 + H2O + CO2. Strontium is in the group of the alkaline earth metals (2. main group). It is non-toxic just like calcium, which is in the same group. The chemical similarity of strontium and calcium, however, accounts for the fact that the radioactive strontium isotopes that formed during the Chernobyl reactor accident have been able to deposit in the bones to trigger cancer.

 

Strontium carbonate, among other things, is used for manufacturing ferrite magnets that serve to extract strontium ferrite. Its main application is the production of glass for cathode ray tubes, better known as (color) television tubes. Since strontium carbonate has a relatively large atomic radius, it absorbs the X-radiation that occurs in the tubes. Through addition of SrCO3 and other compounds, the X-radiation disappears almost completely. It is due to today’s LCD and plasma screens, however, that the production of cathode ray tubes is more and more decreasing. Strontium carbonate is also used in glazings. Pyrotechnics rely on the chromophoric salts of strontium to give flames their crimson color

 

In medicine, strontium was formerly used sometimes to treat schizophrenia. Today, the substance is used as homeopathic “strontium carbonicum” to treat e.g., arthrosis and cerebral sclerosis.

 

Strontium carbonate is not self-inflammable as nanometer-sized powder. Also as a mixture with air (dust) under the influence of an ignition source, it is not inflammable, so there is no possibility of a dust explosion.

Mineral Strontianit © epitavi / fotolia.comMineral Strontianit © epitavi / fotolia.com

 

Occurrence

Strontium carbonate occurs in nature as the mineral strontianite which is one of the main sources for the exploitation of strontium. Strontianite is extracted both in open cast and underground mining. Strontium is named after the mineral strontianite which, in turn, is named after the location of Strontian, Scotland, where the first strontium mineral was discovered.

 

NanoCare Data Sheets

 

Literature arrow down

  1. Chem-Europe.com (EN): Strontium carbonate (last access date: Apr 2011).

 

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