Barium is an alkaline earth metal. Due to its high reactivity, barium is not found as a free metal in nature. The most important barium minerals are heavy spar BaSO4 and witherite BaCO3. Deposits of these minerals are located all over the world.
Barium metal is produced in two steps, starting from barium carbonate. BaCO3 is subject to a reductive calcination. The resulting barium oxide is subsequently reacted to elemental barium under high vacuum. Further purification of barium may be facilitated by vacuum distillation.
The pure metal is classified as "Barium, UN #1400" for the purpose of transportation. Transportation of this material requires special approved packaging.
Usually barium is packed under argon or paraffin oil and can be handled under an inert atmosphere to prevent the formation of an oxide coating.
Barium is a strong reducing agent and forms hydrogen gas when in contact with water. Barium is therefore classified as a flammable solid. It is a class 4.3 material, i.e. it liberates flammable gases when in contact with water.
Barium should be stored in a well-ventilated, dry place, avoiding any contact with water.
It is recommended that protective gloves and glasses should be worn when handling these materials.
For special applications, e.g. producing phosphorous materials for the lighting industry (LED), Albemarle is currently developping a suitable high-purity strontium metal.
In addition to this development, our team is prepared to consider new and unique products to suit novel and innovative applications. Please contact us to discuss how we can improve our standard offerings to better meet your needs.
Due to its reactive nature barium and strontium must be handled with care.
In case of fire, use extinguishing powders on the basis of NaCl (e.g. Totalit M) or pulverized lime stone. Never use water, carbon dioxide, or carbon halides.