Properties of Strontium Chloride

Written by john brennan
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Properties of Strontium Chloride
Strontium chloride is sometimes used to add a red colour to fireworks. (fireworks image by Brett Bouwer from Fotolia.com)

Strontium chloride is an ionic compound with the chemical formula SrCl2. It has two atoms of chlorine for each atom of strontium; since strontium has two electrons in its outermost shell and a low ionisation energy (meaning it is easily ionised), it loses an electron to each of the two chlorines. The negatively-charged chlorine ions and positively-charged strontium ions are then attracted to each other.

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Appearance & Description

Strontium chloride is found either as a white granular powder or as a colourless crystalline solid and has no odour or scent. It is typically sold in the hexahydrate form, meaning that there are six molecules of water present in the crystal lattice for each formula unit of strontium chloride, although it also can be prepared in an anhydrous (without water) form as well. It lends a red colour to flame and hence is sometimes used in fireworks.

Physical Properties

In the hexahydrate form, strontium chloride has a molar mass of 267 grams per mole. The hexahydrate form has a density of 1.96 grams per cubic centimetre and hence is 1.96 times as dense as water at room temperature. It dissolves well in water and is slightly soluble in ethanol. At 150 degrees Celsius, the hexahydrate form will lose its waters to become anhydrous strontium chloride; at 868 degrees Celsius, it will melt.

Thermochemistry

Entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system and is useful in determining how it will react with other chemicals. The entropy of strontium chloride in the solid form at 1 bar pressure is 114.81 joules per mole kelvin. The enthalpy of formation is the amount of heat released or absorbed by a material when formed from its components (in this case, strontium and chloride) in their standard states (gas for chlorine and solid for strontium). The enthalpy of formation of solid strontium chloride is -828.85 kilojoules per mole, meaning 828.85 joules of heat energy are released for each mole formed.

Other Considerations

The LD50 or lethal dose 50 (the amount needed to kill one-half of a population of rats consuming it) is 2250 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. It is incompatible with strong oxidising agents and should be stored separately. For descriptions of some of the more common strong oxidising agents, see the link under the Resources section.

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