My Element – Strontium

  • What is Strontium? 

Strontium is a soft, silvery alkaline earth metal with the symbol Sr and the atomic number 38. It is a highly chemically reactive element that can burn in air and react with water. When Strontium is exposed to air, it burns into a bright red flame and when Strontium gets combined with water it releases hydrogen gas and Strontium Hydroxide which is kind off like a fume.  Although there are two types of strontium compounds, strontium carbonate and strontium nitrate there is one that dissolves in water and one that does not. Strontium has numbers of different forms of itself with the same amounts of protons but with different amounts of neutrons. Strontium 90 is found in the fallout from some nuclear explosions meaning it is a dangerous radioactive isotope that can be absorbed by the body which then the skeletal system collects it. The radiation of it affects the production of new blood cells, which could eventually lead to death. There is also Natural Strontium which is a mixture of four stable isotopes: Sr-84, Sr-86, Sr-87 and Sr-88. They are mainly found in the minerals celestite and Strontianite. Unlike Strontium 90, Natural Strontium is stable and not hazardous to health.  



  • Who discovered Strontium and how?  

Strontium was discovered by an Irish chemist named Adair Crawford. It was discovered in 1790 while he was studying the mineral witherite which belongs to the Barite Mineral Group. He mixed witherite with hydrochloric acid, but he did not get the results he was expecting. Crawford assumed that his sample of witherite got contaminated by an unknown mineral which he named Strontianite. He called it Strontium due to the fact that he discovered it near Strontian, Scotland. Although Crawford discovered Strontium, in 1808, Sir Humphry Davy who was an English chemist, was the first to isolate Strontium through a chemical decomposition reaction of a mixture of strontium chloride and mercuric oxide. 



  • Where is Strontium found? 

Strontium is mainly found in the minerals celestite and strontianite and is mined in Mexico, Turkey, Iran, Spain and Algeria. It is accessed by mixing the minerals celestite and strontianite which forms strontium chloride. The strontium chloride is usually then mixed with potassium chloride, which is then melted, forming strontium. There is a sufficient amount of Strontium found in the earth’s crust. It ranks about 15th among the elements found in the Earth. 


  • What is Strontium used for? 

Strontium is used to refine zinc and is combined with iron to make magnets. The two strontium compounds, strontium carbonate and strontium nitrate, both burn with a bright red flame and are used in certain kinds of fireworks and signal flares. Strontium carbonate is also used in the preparation of iridescent glass. 



Part 2: 

  1. What questions did you need to research in order to research your topic? 
    • What is Strontium? /Who discovered Strontium? /How was Strontium discovered? /Where is Strontium found? /What is Strontium used for?
  2. What new or familiar digital tools did you try to use as you worked through this project? 
    • I used different sources such as Google, YouTube and WorldBookOnline. I almost never use YouTube or WorldBookOnline to find information, I normally just use google.
  3. What was the process you used to investigate the topic?
    • I first learned what the element was and then I did a bunch of research and with that research I answered my questions.
  4. How did you verify and cite the information you found? 
    • With the information I found, I made sure I found it on multiple websites to verify that the information was correct and that the information was consistent.
  5. How did the process of completing this challenge go? What could you have done better?
    • Having to verify that all the information and research I was doing was correct by checking multiple sources instead of having one reliable source. Maybe I could’ve used more resources that the school website provides instead of just using google. 

2 thoughts on “My Element – Strontium

  1. Great information fluency post. I really like how you have found some great sub-questions to lead you to get a well-rounded perspective on your topic. You have shared some digital tools and cited your sources. Your debrief could have been more detailed but considers what you did well and what you could have improved upon.

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