Cesium - any unusual facts?

Hi! We have to do a powerpoint presentation for our sixth grade. The teacher wants us to find unusual facts about the element cesium ( [i]or caesium). If anyone knows some we would be grateful. But we have to able to list the source in a bibliography. Thanks [b][u]SO[/u][/b] Much!! :lol: [/i]

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I honestly wouldnt recommend

I honestly wouldnt recommend holding cesium in your hand even if u were under 6 feet away from the burn unit in an emergency room.

cesium unusual facts

Cesium (spelled caesium in the UK) is the most electropositive of all naturally occurring elements; in other words, it is the most highly reactive of all metals. Cesium metal is so highly reactive that it will burst into flames in air, explode when touched by water, and if it doesn't have some at hand, will suck the water out of your hand before burning it and dissolving into a caustic lye-like CsOH (cesium hydroxide). Caution!! DO NOT try this at home or more than 6 feet from the burn unit of an emergency room.

Today, radioactive cesium is used to power atomic clocks of such high accuracy that the second is now officially defined in terms of the radioactive decay of cesium, but in the 50's, its principal use was as a getter for vaccuum tubes; that is, a small bit of cesium was placed inside a vaccuum tube, and it was so reactive that it burned up any remaining oxygen or nitrogen leaving an almost perfect vaccuum.

The other interesting thing about cesium is that it was discovered by Bunsen (he of Bunsen burner fame) and Kirchhoff (one of the all time great chemistry teams) by analyzing the residue of mineral waters. The idea was to find the magic ingredient that made mineral baths in Germany so "healthful"; I think most people now believe that any therapeutic value from German spas comes from the heat of the water and not the mineral content, but be that as it may, B&K discovered cesium not by purifying large quantities of minerals but by analyzing light and observing a bright blue line in the spectrum, hence the name cesium. Although rubidium and thallium were later also discovered (in 1861) by this method, cesium was the very first element to be so discovered.

Cesium melts at 28.44 degree C, a bit higher than room temperature (given as 25 C) and less than human body temperature (37 C) so that if its products weren't so caustic, cesium would melt in your hand just like gallium.

Aside from the brief information given at this site, you can verify these facts by looking at the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics which should be available at the reference desk of your local library. John Emsley's The Elements, Oxford U Pr. will also give the basic facts. An older book, Glenn T. Seaborg's Elements of the Universe is geared to younger readers and contains much information that is still accurate and presented with admirable clarity.

you are

you are wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The most Reactive Metal in the World is Francium

If anyone ever sees francium

If anyone ever sees francium it may turn out to be more reactive than cesium, but no one has ever seen all 17 francium atoms at one time. It simply doesn't exist in macroscopic quantities and so has no macroscopic properties.

Yeah. I've got five grams of it sealed in an ampoule right here with me. Very neat element. Holding the ampoule for a short period of time causes it to liquify, and it has a beautiful gold color. It looks exactly like liquid gold. It's just a shame that if the vial ever were to break, the cesium would violently react with any moisture in the air. That's why this baby is stored in a nice, soft foam bed in a sealed off area. Wouldn't want anybody to accidentally drop it and break it open.

Do you collect elements?

[quote="UCB Mitch"]Do you collect elements?[/quote]

Yes I do. I am frequently on E-Bay trying to get nicer and nicer samples of elements I posses. There are currently 12 elements which I don't have quality samples of which I'm still trying to get. If the element is not listed here, then I already have a sample of it. (Except that I don't collect the radioactive elements). The elements I'm still looking for are:

Hydrogen
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Fluorine
Chlorine
Rubidium
Arsenic
Holmium
Erbium
Thulium
Lutetium

By the end of the night, I hope to have some Holmium, and Thulium, and for the Hydrogen I have plans on getting a tritium key-chain. It's pretty neat having the collection and it really teaches you a lot about each of the elements.

Tritium would be a radioactive element :) . It has a half like of 12 years or something I think, can't remember for sure. :)

For Chlorine put a 9 volt battery in an aqueous solution of NaCl near saturation and it should make chlorine for you. Just need to cap it. :)

[quote="UCB Mitch"]Tritium would be a radioactive element :) . It has a half like of 12 years or something I think, can't remember for sure. :)

For Chlorine put a 9 volt battery in an aqueous solution of NaCl near saturation and it should make chlorine for you. Just need to cap it. :)[/quote]

Heh. I meant elements where all isotopes are radioactive. :) I plan on getting the tritium key-ring since a vial of just plain hydrogen is pretty boring. With the tritium key-ring, the key-ring will be glowing for a good couple decades and will give me a nice display piece. (Tritium's half-life is 12.3 years, so depening on how much gas is in the ring, it should be able to glow for about twice that length).

I've tried using a battery to make my chlorine, but I just can't seem to find a vial that will keep it in there. Makes it kind of frustrating. :P

Since Chlorine is denser then air, have you tried flowing the gas into a sealed container?

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