Strontium | Descriptions, Properties, Uses & Facts

Strontium | Descriptions, Properties, Uses & Facts

Exploring Strontium: Properties, Compounds, and Applications


Strontium, with its symbol Sr and atomic number 38, is a fascinating element that holds unique characteristics and diverse applications. In this blog, we will delve into the essential aspects of strontium, including its elemental properties, chemical compounds like strontium aluminate and strontium titanate, and its role in compounds such as barium strontium titanate.

Elemental Strontium:

Symbol: Sr  

Atomic Number: 38  

Atomic Mass: 87.62 g/mol  

Electron Configuration: [Kr] 5s²  or 1s² 2s² 2p⁶ 3s² 3p⁶ 4s² 3d¹⁰ 4p⁶ 5s² 4d¹⁰

Valency: +2  

Chemical and Physical Properties:

Strontium, a soft alkaline earth metal, shares similarities with calcium in its chemical behavior. Its distinctive flame color (bright red) makes it easily identifiable in flame tests. The metal is malleable, ductile, and reacts vigorously with water, producing strontium hydroxide and hydrogen gas.

Reactivity and Compounds:

Strontium exhibits notable reactivity, forming various compounds. One of the well-known compounds is "Strontium Aluminate (SrAl₂O₄)". This compound is widely used in glow-in-the-dark materials and phosphors due to its luminescent properties. The incorporation of europium impurities can enhance the luminescence, making it valuable in applications like emergency exit signs and watch dials.

Another significant compound is "Strontium Titanate (SrTiO₃)". This perovskite structure compound showcases interesting dielectric properties, making it crucial in the production of capacitors and other electronic devices.

Barium Strontium Titanate:

Barium Strontium Titanate (BaSrTiO₃) is a solid solution compound that combines elements from barium, strontium, and titanium. This compound's tunable dielectric properties find applications in ferroelectric capacitors, sensors, and non-volatile memories, contributing to advancements in electronics.

Occurrence and Production:

Strontium is naturally found in minerals like celestite (strontium sulfate) and strontianite (strontium carbonate). The extraction of strontium often involves converting these minerals into strontium oxide, which is then reduced to elemental strontium through a reaction with aluminum.

Strontium in Everyday Life:

Strontium's luminescent properties make it invaluable in the production of fireworks, where it enhances the vibrant red hues. Additionally, strontium compounds have applications in medicine, as radioactive strontium-89 is used for treating bone cancer.

Strontium Uses:

1. Fireworks: Strontium compounds are commonly used in fireworks to produce vivid red colors. Strontium salts, such as strontium carbonate or strontium nitrate, are added to pyrotechnic compositions to achieve the desired red hues.

2. Luminous Paints and Pigments: Strontium aluminate, a compound containing strontium, is employed in the production of luminous paints and pigments. These materials can absorb and store light energy, later releasing it in the form of visible light, commonly seen in glow-in-the-dark products.

3. Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs): Strontium oxide is used in the glass envelope of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) for color television and computer monitors. It helps absorb X-rays generated within the tube, reducing health hazards associated with prolonged exposure.

4. Fluorescent Lights: Strontium fluorides are utilized in the manufacturing of certain types of fluorescent lights and lamps. These compounds contribute to the phosphor coatings that convert ultraviolet light into visible light.

5. Medical Applications: Radioactive strontium-89 is used in medical treatments, particularly for the palliative relief of bone pain associated with metastatic bone cancer. It targets and delivers radiation to the affected bones.

6. Nuclear Power: Strontium-90, a radioactive isotope of strontium, is produced in nuclear reactors. While it poses environmental and health risks due to its radioactivity, it has been studied for potential use in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) for space missions.

Strontium Facts:

1. Flame Test Color: Strontium compounds exhibit a distinctive bright red flame color when subjected to a flame test. This characteristic makes it easily identifiable in laboratory experiments and is the reason for its use in red fireworks.

2. Chemical Similarity to Calcium: Strontium shares chemical similarities with calcium, as they both belong to the alkaline earth metal group. This similarity can lead to strontium accumulation in the bones in a manner similar to calcium.

3. Natural Occurrence: Strontium is found in nature primarily in the minerals celestite (strontium sulfate) and strontianite (strontium carbonate). The element was named after the Scottish village of Strontian, where strontianite was first discovered.

4. Radioactive Isotopes: Strontium has several radioactive isotopes, with strontium-90 being of particular concern due to its presence in nuclear fallout. It can accumulate in bones and poses health risks if released into the environment.

5. Biological Role: While calcium is an essential element for living organisms, strontium is not biologically necessary. In fact, high levels of strontium can be toxic to humans, and its uptake by plants can impact crop quality in certain regions.

Understanding both the uses and facts about strontium provides a comprehensive view of its significance in various industries and its impact on human health and the environment.


In conclusion, strontium is a versatile element with a range of properties and applications. From its luminescent compounds like strontium aluminate to its role in advanced materials like barium strontium titanate, strontium continues to play a vital role in various industries. Understanding the properties and applications of strontium opens up avenues for further exploration and innovation in fields ranging from materials science to electronics.

Also Read:

Neon | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Nitrogen | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Beryllium | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Hydrogen | Difference between Blue and Green Hydrogen | Hydrogen Fuel

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