Q:

What are the uses of rubidium?

A:

Quick Answer

The Jefferson Lab indicates that rubidium is used for removing gases in vacuum tubes, making photocells, and making certain glasses. It may also find use in propelling spacecraft engines. The element is likely be used more often as it becomes better understood.

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Full Answer

The Jefferson Lab states that rubidium was initially discovered in 1861 by Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchoff while they were examining samples of the mineral lepidolite using a spectroscope. Upon looking at a sample, the two noticed some peculiar red lines. Bunsen then isolated samples of rubidium metal. In modern times, rubidium is obtained via refining lithium. Out of the compounds that rubidium can form, none are commercially useful. Common rubidium compounds include rubidium chloride, rubidium monoxide and rubidium copper sulphate. A combination of rubidium, silver and iodine is potentially useful in film batteries due to its electrical properties.

Lenntech states that rubidium, part of the alkali metal group, is soft and appears as silvery-white and metallic. Rubidium can become liquid during hot days and is known to act violently with water and ice. It's probably the 16th most common element within the earth's crust. Rubidium is considered to be similar to potassium in that it's not considered threatening by any environments. It exists in the minerals pollucite, carnallite, zinnwaldite and leucite. Very little rubidium is produced annually since there are few practical uses for it, but it's still used for research purposes. Rubidium is considered to be moderately toxic when ingested.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is rubidium oxide?

    A:

    Rubidium oxide is a yellow-brown or yellowish crystalline solid with a chemical formula Rb2O. It is also known as dirubidium oxide or rubidium (I) oxide. It is a strong base and reacts with water to produce rubidium hydroxide.

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  • Q:

    What is iodine made of?

    A:

    Iodine is an element and, therefore, it is not strictly "made" of anything but iodine atoms, according to Jefferson Lab. Iodine is a solid at room temperature and occupies position 53 on the periodic table. It is classed as a member of the halogen group.

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  • Q:

    What is the formula for rubidium iodide?

    A:

    The formula for rubidium iodide, also written as rubidium(I) iodide, is RbI. Rb is the chemical symbol for rubidium, and I is the chemical symbol for iodine.

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  • Q:

    What are some examples of laboratory equipment and their functions?

    A:

    Commonly used laboratory equipment includes test tubes and test tube holders, beakers, Bunsen burners, tongs and flasks for measuring, storing and combining liquids and chemicals. Many labs also use microscopes, meters, centrifuges, scales and sterilizers for medical, scientific and educational purposes.

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