Strontium

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Strontium is an alkaline metal. Strontium is a soft silver-white or yellowish metallic chemical element that is highly reactive chemically. It occurs naturally in the minerals celestine and strontianite. The 90Sr isotope is present in radioactive fallout and has a half-life of 28.90 years.

Applications

As a pure metal strontium is used in strontium 90%-aluminium 10% alloys of an eutectic composition for the modification of aluminium-silicon casting alloys. The primary use for strontium compounds is in glass for cathode ray tubes to prevent X-ray emission.

90Sr has also been used as a power source for radioisotope thermoelectric generators. 90Sr produces about 0.93 watts of heat per gram (it is lower for the grade of 90Sr used in RTGs, which is strontium fluoride). However, 90Sr has a lifetime approximately 3 times shorter and has a lower density than 238Pu, another RTG fuel. The main advantage of 90Sr is that it is cheaper than 238Pu and is found in nuclear waste.