The Basics

Name: Strontium

Symbol: Sr

Atomic #: 38

Atomic Wt: 87.62

State: Solid at STP

Group: Alkaline Earth Metals

Lewis Dot Diagram:

Fun Strontium Facts!

Strontium became more publicly known during the early 1950's and 60's, when it was discovered that an isotpe of Strontium (Strontium-90) was involved in nuclear fallout.







A British comic series ("Strontium Dog") has been written about the survivors of nuclear fallout who gain mutant super powers. The substance that caused the mutations? Strontium-90!








"Strontium 90" , a precursor to the band "The Police", was a shortlived band that consisted of the three members of The Police: Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers, in addition to a bassist, Mike Howlett. The group was started in 1977 and released one album, titled "Police Academy".

Strontium 90 - Electron Romance









Strontium never occurs in its pure form. It usually occurs in soil as the compounds Celestite or Strontianite.










Strontium was first discovered in Scotland. Other elements that were discovered in Scotland include Nitrogen and Argon!








Strontium is found in leafy green vegetables, root vegetables and whole grains. Strontium, like calcium, is a mineral that is used to keep bones strong!








Humans ingest about 1-5 mg of Strontium per day!











Strontium is a soft, silvery metal that is highly reactive and never occurs in its pure form. It has 14 known isotopes, of which only four are stable (Sr-84, Sr-86, Sr-87 and Sr-88). The most famous form of Strontium is its radioactive isotope Strontium-90, famous for raising alarm in the 1950's and 1960's over the spread of radioactivity after nuclear arms testing. Strontium is one of the Earth's most abundant elements, comprising about 0.04% of the Earth's soil. Strontium is also found in trace amounts in the oceans.


The History of Strontium

Strontium was discovered in 1790 by the Irish chemist Adair Crawford, in the mines near the Scottish town of Strontian (after which the element was named).  The element was discovered after Crawford was working with Witherite (BaCO3) and realized that his sample was tainted with an unknown substance which he called “Strontianite”. The element was first isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1808.


Scientific Description of Strontium





Atomic Number


Atomic Mass



2.6 g/cm3

Number of Protons


Number of Electrons


Number of Neutrons


Electron Configuration


Block in Periodic Table


Pauling Electronegativity


Thermal Properties:

State (at room temperature)
Melting Point
777 degrees Celsius (1050 K)
Boiling Point
1380 degrees Celsius (1653 K)
Specific Heat Capacity
0.30 J/(g)(K)
Heat of Fusion
8.30 kJ/mol

Abundance (ppb by weight):

In Soil:
360,000 ppb
In Oceans:
8100 ppb
In Sun:
50 ppb
In Universe:
40 ppb
In Humans:
3.7 ppb




1.77 hours
22.3 minutes
1.4 days
64.9 days


50.5 days
29.1 years


Properties of Strontium

Physical Properties:

Chemical Properties:

Strontium Combustion

Strontium in Water

Health Effects of Strontium

Strontium can be both beneficial and harmful to a person's health, depending on the state in which it is found.

If Strontium is found in its natural state (usually within a compound of some sort), it is relativly harmless, and beneficial in some cases. For example, the compound Strontium Lactate was shown in a clinical study to help pain in Osteoporosis patients.

Strontium can also be harmful to your health in its radioactive form. For example, Strontium-90, which has a half-life of almost 30 years, can settle inside a person's bones and may eventually cause cancer.

Technological Applications

Strontium has many diverse applications, including its uses in toothpaste, fireworks and televisions. Here are some of its common uses:

  • In Sensodyne toothpaste (Strontium Chloride and Strontium Acetate)
  • The crimson colour in fireworks
  • Strontium-90 occasionally used in nuclear reactors
  • The medical isotope Strontium-90, which is used to treat cancer
  • Strontium ions are used in the world's most accurate atomic clock
  • Used in the production of cathode ray tubes for colour televisions

Careers Associated With Strontium

  • Radiologist- Medical doctors who use radioactive isotopes of Strontium to treat diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis.
  • Geologist - Strontium is one of the most abundant elements found on Earth, and can be found in the soil.
  • Pyrotechnics Specialist: Strontium salts are used to produce the red colour in fireworks.

  • Nuclear Engineer: These engineers design products such as nuclear reactors and radiation machines used in hospitals.