Barium (Ba)

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Barium 56Ba137.327

Discovered in 1808 by Sir Humphry Davy at London, England.

  [Greek: barys = heavy, Latin: barium]

  French: baryum
  German: Barium
  Italian: bario
  Spanish: bario

Description: Barium is a soft, silvery-white metal which oxidises in air and reacts with water. It is obtained fraom barium oxide (BaO) by heating with aluminium. Barium sulfate is used commercially in drilling fluids for oil and gas exploration, and small amounts of barium compounds are used in paints and glas.


Further Materials properties


Crystal structure:

(cell dimensions/pm), space group, b.c.c. (a=502.5), Im3m, high pressure form (a=390.1, c=615.5), P63/mmc

X-ray diffractions mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 330 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKa 43.5 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.507 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 1.3 sa / barns
Density: 3594 kg/m-3 [293 K] 3325 [liquid at m.p.]
Melting point: 728.85 °C / 1002°K (α, under pressure)
Boiling point: 1636.85 °C / 1910°K
Molar volume: 38.21 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 18.4 [300 K] Wm-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: (18.1- 21.) x 10-6 K-1
Electrical resistivity: 50 x 10-8 [273 K] Ωm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: +1.9 x 10-9 kg-1m3
Young's modulus 12.8 GPa
Rigidity modulus 4.86 GPa
Bulk modulus n.a.
Poisson's ratio 0.28 GPa
Radi: Ba2+ 143; atomic 217; covalent 198
Electronegativity: 0.89 (Pauling); 0.97 (Allred); 2.4 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 2.85 (Slater); 7.58 (Clementi); 10.27 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 37
Isotope mass range: 117 -> 148



Biological data


Biological role: None, but Barium is stimulatory
Toxic intake: 100 - 200 mg
Lethal intake: LD50 (BaCO3, oral, rat) = 418 mg kg-1
Hazards: Barium sulfate is insoluble and used for body imaging, but soluble barium salts are highly toxic causing vomiting, colic, diarrhoea, tremors, paralysis etc.
Level in humans  
Blood: 0.068 mg dm-3
Bone: 3 - 70 ppm
Liver: 0.04 - 1.2 ppm
Muscle: 0.09 ppm
Daily dietary intake: 0.6 - 1.7 mg
Total mass of element in average
[70 kg] person:
22 mg


Geological data


MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Barite  BaSO4  4.50  3 - 3.5  orth., vitr./res. colourless-yellow
Benitoite (gemstone)  BaTiSi3O2  3.6  6.3  hex., trans. blue
Witherite  BaCO3  4.219  3-3.5  orth., vitr./res. colourless/grey


Chief ores: barite mainly, witherite occasionally
World production: 6 x 106 (barium ores) tonnes/year
Main mining areas: UK, Italy, Czech Republic (Pribram), USA, Germany
Reserves: 450 x 106 tonnes
Specimen: available as granules, rods or stick. Warning!


Sun: 123 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 500 ppm
Atlantic surface: 4.7 x 10-3 ppm
Atlantic deep: 9.3 x 10-3 ppm
Pacific surface: 4.7 x 10-3 ppm
Pacific deep: 20.0 x 10-3 ppm
Residence time: 10 000 years
Classification: recycled 
Oxidation state: II

  Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

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Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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