Wikijunior:The Elements/Barium

Shows the position of barium on the periodic chart.
Barium's symbol on the Periodic Table

Barium is a chemical element with the symbol Ba and atomic number of 56. It is also a member of the alkaline earth metals.

1.5 grams barium

What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like? edit

Barium is a soft metallic element, which looks silvery white and has no smell when it is pure.

How was it discovered? edit

A shoemaker named Vincentius Casciorolus learned about the heavy, silvery-white mineral which was impure barium sulfate (BaS04). He noticed that after being heated up, this mineral would change into unusual pebbles that glowed for years. He named these pebbles "Bologna stones", and they were later determined to be barium sulfate. Then, barium was first discovered in barite by German chemist Carl Scheele and English chemist William Withering in the late 18th century.

Where did its name come from? edit

Barium gets its name from the Greek word “barys", which means heavy. It received the "ium" part of its name by Sir Humphry Davy, who used it to show how it is a metallic element.

Did You Know?

  • Hydrogen gas is released when barium reacts exothermically with water.
  • Barium makes up only 0.0425% of the Earth’s crust.
  • Breathing in pure barium can irritate the lungs.
  • Barium creates a dark gray coating when it is oxidized in air.
  • Barium is commonly alloyed with metals such as aluminum. 

Where is it found? edit

Barium has a high chemical reactivity. As such, it is never found naturally in its pure form. In nature, it reacts with water to form barium hydroxide, and oxygen to form barium oxide.

What are its uses? edit

Barium is used to color fireworks green. It can also be used to help create a vacuum in television tubes by removing unwanted gas from the tube.

Is it dangerous? edit

Barium can't dissolve in water, but it can dissolve in our stomachs. This can result in the bodies heart rate changing.

References edit

External links edit