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What are the uses of Barium Hydroxide?


Barium is an alkaline earth metal placed in group II of the periodic table. A Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele first discovered a barium compound (barium oxide) in 1774.

In 1808, barium was first isolated by Sir Humphry Davy through the electrolysis method. While in storage, barium is protected from air or it must not come in contact with oxygen because barium readily reacts with oxygen and forms barium oxide.

Metallic barium itself is a light metal but the minerals of barium e.g., barium sulfate are dense. In this article, we have discussed the different applications of barium and its base (barium hydroxide).

Uses of Barium Hydroxide

The most important use of barium hydroxide is in neutralization reactions. It is used as a strong base in many chemical reactions. Following are the other important applications of barium hydroxide:

Treatment of Water

Barium hydroxide solution along with magnesium hydroxide is used to remove sulfates and other metals from mine water. The barium hydroxide is recovered from the water after treatment. This process uses many other reagents to remove different impurities from water.

Barium Hydroxide Buffer

Triethanolamine acetate barium hydroxide buffer is used in the testing of soil. It is used to determine the base exchange capacity and lime requirements of the soil. The pH of this buffer is kept at 8.15.

Sulfate and carbonate precipitates are removed from the soil using this buffer. The lime requirement of soil is estimated by the concentration of barium absorbed by the soil.

Enhanced activity of Calcium Hydroxide Slag

Scientists use different chemicals to check the reactivity of slags. Different amounts of barium hydroxide are added to calcium hydroxide-activated slag to check the effect of barium hydroxide on its reactivity.

Neutralization Reactions

Barium hydroxide is used as a base in the neutralization of mineral acids such as HCl, HBr, etc. The indicators like phenolphthalein are mostly used in neutralization reactions with barium hydroxide.

The formation of soluble carbonates is a common error of neutralization reactions. This error is resolved when barium hydroxide is used as a base because barium carbonate is insoluble and forms precipitates. These precipitates are easily separated.

Barium Hydroxide in the Treatment of Decayed Stone

The barium hydroxide-urea complex is used in the treatment of decayed stone. The bonding material between barium hydroxide and urea is barium calcium carbonate.

This barium hydroxide-urea complex treatment is done to preserve the decaying calcareous stones. The pores and cracks of the decaying stone are filled by a co-precipitation mechanism.

Thermal energy storage

Barium hydroxide monohydrate is used as a phase change material for latent heat storage. The inorganic phase change material is preferred over the organic phase change material. The latent heat of barium hydroxide monohydrate is very high which is why it can be used for thermal energy storage.

Other Applications of Barium Hydroxide

The main applications of barium hydroxide are in analytical and industrial chemistry. Barium hydroxide is used in the petroleum industry and the hydrolysis of different compounds.

It is used as a reagent in the synthesis of diacetone alcohol, cyclopentanone, and d-Gluonic Y-lactone. Barium hydroxide is used as a stabilizer in the plastic industry and thermoplastic manufacturing. The salt of barium hydroxide acts as a catalyst in the oxidative coupling of methane to get more yield.

Other Barium Compounds

Barium metal is used in metallurgy, electron tubes, and alloys. It is also used as a deoxidizing agent in copper refining. The barium compounds are used in petroleum fractionating and radiology.

All barium compounds are poisonous to animals and humans. Barium sulfate is used in the paint, paper, and rubber industry. Barium sulfate is also used in the X-ray technique. Barium carbonate is used in the manufacturing of glass and ceramics. Barium chloride is used in the precipitation of soluble sulfates.

Other Compounds:It is useful to understand the other compounds like meso compound in organic chemistry.