38Sr Strontium

Year Discovered

1790

Discovered By

Adair Crawford of Scotland

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.

Description

Named for a city in Scotland, strontium is a relatively soft, silvery-yellow metal. Like other alkali-earth metals, strontium is chemically active, reacting with both air and water. It is more reactive than calcium or magnesium. Strontium is used in glass for color television tubes because it blocks radiation, and in fireworks and other pyrotechnics, where it imparts a red color. A strontium compound (strontium titanate) is used in optical materials, as it has a very high refractive index and optical dispersion. The radioactive isotope Sr90 has potential use in very small nuclear-powered electric generators. Sr90 produced by above-ground nuclear blasts, replaces calcium in the body, producing a permanent source of radioactivity in the body.

Biological Benefits

Strontium has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefits for life processes.

Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.0005%

Sources

Strontium is obtained from the minerals strontanite (strontium carbonate) and celestite (strontium sulfate), and are mined in Mexico Turkey, Iran, Spain and Algeria.