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Chemical Elements

Rubidium

rubidium oxide, photoelectric cells, alkali metals, Rubidium, cesium

Rubidium (Latin rubidus, “red”), symbol Rb, chemically reactive metallic element with an atomic number of 37. In group 1 (or Ia) of the periodic table, rubidium is one of the alkali metals.

Rubidium was discovered spectroscopically in 1860 by the German chemist Robert Wilhelm Bunsen and the German physicist Gustav Robert Kirchhoff in the mineral lepidolite, which is now the element’s main commercial ore. They named the element after the ruby red lines prominent in its spectrum. Metallic rubidium is silvery white and very soft. After cesium, it is the most active of the alkali metals. It tarnishes immediately upon exposure to air and ignites spontaneously to form rubidium oxide. It reacts violently with water. In general chemical behavior, rubidium resembles sodium and potassium. Rubidium melts at about 39°C (about 102°F), boils at about 688°C (1270°F), and has a specific gravity of 1.53. The atomic weight of rubidium is 85.468.

It is a widely distributed element, ranking about 16th in order of abundance of the elements in Earth’s crust. It is not found in large deposits but occurs in small amounts in certain mineral waters and in many minerals usually associated with other alkali metals. It is also found in small quantities in tea, coffee, tobacco, and other plants, and trace quantities of the element may be required by living organisms. Rubidium is used in making certain catalysts and in photoelectric cells. The rate of radioactive decay of the isotope rubidium-87 can be used in geologic age determination.



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rubidium oxide, photoelectric cells, alkali metals, Rubidium, cesium, atomic number, periodic table, specific gravity, living organisms, potassium, crust, spectrum, sodium, Ia, tobacco, minerals, element, tea, exposure, coffee, Earth, elements, plants, active, water, air, group

 
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