Barium was discovered in 1808. Like
magnesium, barium is found in minerals and in the sea. Barium occurs in
substantial deposits of barytes, BaSO4.
Barium is mainly used in:
medical procedure. Because barium sulfate, BaSO4, is opague to x-rays, it is used
in x-ray diagnoses of gastrointestinal examinations. The patient drinks a "barium cocktail", a
suspension of BaSO4 in water, to outline the stomach and intestines for X-ray examination.
Although all soluble barium salts are toxic, the procedure is safe because BaSO4 is
firework displays. Barium nitrate, Ba(NO3)2, gives fireworks a green colour.
Shown above is a sample of barium in argon. Storing barium in argon minimizes
oxidation of the sample.