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Cesium


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For photoelectric cells.
Atomic Number:55Atomic Symbol:Cs
Atomic Weight:132.9054Electron Configuration:2-8-18-18-8-1
Shells:2,8,18,18,8,1Filling Orbital:6s1
Melting Point:28.5oCBoiling Point:678.4oC
Description:Soft light silvery-white alkali metal.
Uses:Used as a getter to remove air traces in vacuum tubes.
Since it ionizes readily,
it is used as an ion rocket motor propellant.

History

(L. caesius, sky blue) Cesium was discovered spectroscopically by Bunsen and Kirchhoff in 1860 in mineral water from Durkheim.

Sources

Cesium, an alkali metal, occurs in lepidolite, pollucte (a hydrated silicate of aluminum and cesium), and in other sources. One of the world's richest sources of cesium is located at Bernic Lake, Manitoba. The deposits are estimated to contain 300,000 tons of pollucite, averaging 20% cesium.

It can be isolated by elecytrolysis of the fused cyanide and by a number of other methods. Very pure, gas-free cesium can be prepared by thermal decomposition of cesium azide.

Properties

  • The metal is characterized by a spectrum containing two bright lines in the blue along with several others in the red, yellow, and green. It is silvery white, soft, and ductile.
  • It is the most electropositive and most alkaline element.
  • Cesium, gallium, andmercury are the only three metals that are liquid at room temperature.
  • Cesium reacts explosively with cold water, and reacts with ice at temperatures above -116C.
  • Cesium hydroxide, the strongest base known, attacks glass.

Uses

  • Because of it has great affinity for oxygen, the metal is used as a "getter" in electron tubes.
  • It is also used in photoelectric cells, as well as a catalyst in the hydrogenation of certain organic compounds.
  • The metal has recently found application in ion propulsion systems.
  • Cesium is used in atomic clocks, which are accurate to 5 s in 300 years.
  • Its chief compounds are the chloride and the nitrate.

Isotope

Cesium has more isotopes than any element--32--with masses ranging from 114 to 145.

Costs

The present price of cesium is about $30/g

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