What is cesium ?

One of the most unique metallic chemical elements widely used in various industries is the cesium. This chemical is extremely radioactive and contains several isotopes. This element is mostly found mixed with other elements and rarely in its pure form due to being highly reactive since nuclear fission and minerals are the most common source of cesium in the world. Consumers do not generally directly interact with cesium or its isotopes, although they may have a product that has cesium components.

In pure form, cesium appears to be silvery white and soft in texture. Being a metallic element, cesium has a unique characteristics of being liquid at room temperature. The element is also very reactive, very electropositive and highly alkaline. Extreme caution is recommended for it can react violently in contact with ice, water and even moist air. It is known as the symbol Cs in the periodic table of elements and has an atomic number of fifty-five. This element appears in numerous toxic compounds due to being highly reactive.

The credit of the cesium discovery goes to Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirhoff in the 1860. Using a spectrometer to examine Durkheim, Germany’s mineral water, they noted the existence of a previously unknown element that emits a unique bluish gray line on the spectrum. They named the element cesium after caesius, a latin word meaning bluish gray. In 1882, another chemist had supervised to isolate metallic cesium. British English writers may be more familiar with the element as caesium.

Photoelectric cells, atomic clocks and nuclear medicine are just an example of the application of cesium. It is known that cesium isotopes are reactive, however, studies proved that it can help cure cancers. Another application of cesium is to create a desired chemical reaction, as well as in various fields of scientific research. Compounds of the element are accessible at reasonable prices, however, pure cesium can be quite costly.

Radioactive isotopes of cesium can enter the environment through the explosion of nuclear devices and through inappropriately controlled waste. These isotopes can easily mix with drinking water and rivers, increasing the risk of health problems such as contractions or death depending on the level of exposure. Luckily, cesium poisoning appears to be rare, since a high concentration is needed for toxicity to be reached. However, extreme caution should be used when handling cesium and its isotopes because of its toxicity and reactivity.

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One Response to “What is cesium ?”

  1. Vanji said:

    Will this gas from this nuclear plant explosion reach Wisconsin,and will it kill us if it does?cesium gas


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