Rubidium

by John Hoffman

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Rubidium by the Numbers

Atomic Number: 37

Mass Number: 85

# of Protons: 37

# of Neutrons: 48

# of Electrons: 37

Where is Rubidium found, and what does it look like?

Rubidium is a soft, silvery-white metal that is very seldom found in nature due to its high reactivity. It can, however be found in the earth's crust, and in Potassium trace quantities.

What are some properties of Rubidium?

  • Rubidium is soft and highly malleable.
  • Rubidium is highly reactive to many different elements.
  • Rubidium is highly flammable and can spontaneously combust.
  • Being a metal, Rubidium is a good conductor.

How was Rubidium Discovered

Rubidium was discovered in 1861 in Germany by Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen when they were doing an experiment involving Potassium. They noticed a different substance mixed in with the Potassium. They carefully separated the two substances until they only had the new substance (Rubidium).

Discoverers of Rubidium

Real-World uses for Rubidium

  • Rubidium can be used for rocket fuel.
  • Rubidium collects on tumors and passes by healthy tissue, making it useful for detecting brain tumors.
  • Rubidium can be used in atomic clocks, but it is not the best element for that use.
  • Rubidium is also sometimes used to create purple fireworks.

Additional Rubidium Facts

  • Rubidium reacts violently to water, creating a highly flammable gas.
  • Rubidium tends spontaneously combust when in contact with air.
  • Rubidium is the 16th most common element in the earth's crust.
  • Rubidium's name comes from the Greek word for "deepest red".
  • Most animal species (including humans) do occasionally consume trace amounts of Rubidium (due to its similarity to Potassium).
  • Rubidium is harmless if consumed in trace quantities.

Liquid Rubidium

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