Barium Nitrate

Advanced Chemistry: What is Barium Nitrate?

Barium nitrate is an inorganic compound that is officially known by many other names as well. Some prefer to call it barium dinitrate, while others may know the compound as Nitrobarite. However, unofficially, people may refer to this particular compound as barium salt. 

Barium nitrate formula is Ba(NO3)2. If you are appearing for your final year examinations soon, you need to have distinct knowledge about this particular chemical, along with all of its properties. By the end of this chapter, you will also learn about this salt’s various applications. Furthermore, major preparation processes are also discussed in detail.

The key to understanding how any compound functions is to learn about its various properties. Refer to the table below to gain insight into its various basic features and natural properties.

Properties of Barium Nitrate

Properties

Barium Nitrate

IUPAC Name

barium (2+); dinitrate 

Molecular Weight 

261.34 g/mol

Appearance

Crystalline solid

Colour

White

Combustibility 

Non-combustible

Reaction to heat

Under the right conditions, the barium nitrate salt can explode

Odour

Odourless

Boiling point

The compound decomposes under intense heat

Melting point 

592 degree Celsius or 1098 degree Fahrenheit

Solubility

Highly soluble, 10.3g/100g of water

Density

3.24 g/cubic cm

Vapour pressure

Low

Decomposition

Decomposes upon heating, producing nitrogen oxides

Refractive Index

1.5659

 

Additionally, another interesting property of barium nitrate is that it enhances the combustibility of other compounds, even though it is not itself combustible. However, one must be wary of exposing barium nitrate to high heat for prolonged periods, as the compound can explode or act as a fire hazard. Moreover, it acts as an oxidising agent for separate chemical reactions; a property which also finds uses in various applications.

How to Produce Barium Nitrate

The formula of barium nitrate indicates its composition. However, when it comes to mass-producing this product, one of two standard procedures are generally followed. Let us learn about these processes in detail.

  • First Method

The first process begins with dissolving barium carbonate or BaCO3 with nitric acid (HNO3). As the two compounds react, iron impurities precipitate to the surface. With the help of filtration technique, you must remove these impurities. Next, the remaining mixture must undergo evaporation. Finally, after crystallisation, we receive pure barium nitrate which is often used industrially.

  • Second Method

Some manufacturers also use a secondary method for the creation of barium nitrate. This alternative method involves a chemical reaction between barium sulphide and nitric acid. Still, one must maintain a close watch on temperature during this production method, as intense temperatures can lead to the decomposition of Ba(NO3)2 into barium oxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxygen.

2Ba(NO3)2 → 2BaO + 4NO2 + O2

Precautionary Measures to Follow While Handling Barium Nitrate

High concentrations of this compound can be extensively poisonous to humans. One must take care not to inhale too much of its fumes. Similarly, direct exposure to the eyes and skin can also lead to several harmful symptoms. Upper lung irritation, skin irritation and eye irritation are some of the signs of barium nitrate poisoning. Notably these can be easily avoided by taking simple precautionary measures while handling it.

Applications of Barium Nitrate

Simply learning about the solubility of barium nitrate is not enough. You should also study about the various cases where this compound proves immensely useful. Some of these major uses are discussed below in detail.

1. In the Fireworks Industry

Barium nitrate is a prised compound when it comes to the fireworks industry because it can help in the production of green flames. Apart from just fireworks, one can also perceive this compound’s use in several pyrotechnic displays as well. Just as barium nitrate produce green flames; sodium chloride leads to yellow flame formation, while copper chloride turns blue during combustion. Therefore, often all of these are used together in fireworks.

2. In Glasswork Factories

Barium nitrate is a crucial product in the creation of high quality glass items. The oxygen molecule attached to this compound can help keep the glass items free from discolouration. Additionally, such glassware is exceptionally clear. Experts also use this compound when producing optical glasses. 

Barium nitrate in camera lenses can improve refractive index, leading to clearer pictures. 

3. Military Usage

Barium nitrate helps in the production of tracer bullets. When fired, one can follow the exact route that the bullet takes, thanks to a Ba(NO3)2 charge placed right at the end of such ammunition. This charge lights when such bullets are fired from a gun. The smoke from this portion is visible, precisely indicating the bullet’s path.

Additionally, barium nitrate is one of the primary compounds in the creation of flares, used to signal troops to a certain location. Lastly, explosive detonators contain this compound as well. Similarly, due to its oxidising nature, barium nitrate is an integral component for explosives.  

4. Rodenticide

Simply knowing the colour of barium nitrate is not sufficient. One must also understand its other types of applications. For instance, apart from its military and fireworks usage, this compound is also a reliable rodenticide. Leaving it out in the open at your home will prevent various rodents, such as mice and rats from entering or staying inside the premises. 

5. Paints

The paints on your home walls are simply a mixture of various chemical compounds. Barium nitrate is just one of these compounds. Notably, most paints would not exist without this specific nitrate of barium since it is often used as a primary constituent.

In some cases, this compound can also be used to produce propellants of some types. Nevertheless, its primary usage remains restricted to the military and pyrotechnic works.

Key Takeaways

Students need to remember a few crucial aspects about this salt compound when learning about it. Here is a brief summarisation of the important points that you must remember.

  • Barium nitrate is a crystalline substance that is generally white in colour.

  • It is a salt with subtle acidic properties.

  • Although non-combustible under normal circumstances, this substance can cause explosions under extremely high temperatures. 

  • Barium nitrate is an oxidising agent, helping other compounds to burn

  • You can produce this compound in two methods, both of which involve nitric acid.

  • The melting point of this compound is around 592 degree Celsius. 

  • Barium nitrate cannot be boiled. Under high temperatures, it simply decomposes.

  • Individuals exposed to this substance may undergo symptoms of barium nitrate poisoning, which includes irritation of skin, eyes and lungs.   

Simply learning about barium nitrate from your textbooks is not enough. You need to look for an edge that propels you ahead of the competition in the upcoming examinations. At Vedantu, we provide a substantial amount of study materials and other assistance to students regarding each topic. 

Our expert teachers can provide you with in-depth knowledge regarding the various barium nitrate uses, along with everything else that you should know about class 11 and class 12 chemistry. Now you can even download our Vedantu app for enhanced accessibility.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How can we Determine that Barium Nitrate is Acidic in Nature?

Ans. To determine the acidic nature of barium nitrate, you can dissolve a pinch of this compound in water. It is a highly soluble compound that should have no problem mixing with H2O. Once all of the salt has dissolved, take a pH strip and dip it into the solution. Barium nitrate should change it to a slightly yellow tinge. This indicates that the compound is slightly acidic in nature. 

2. What are the Symptoms of Barium Nitrate Poisoning?

Ans. The compound is poisonous when it enters the human body. Ingestion can occur through inhalation, eye and skin contact. Symptoms of barium nitrate poisoning are diverse enough to cause confusion. However, an individual coming into contact with this salt should watch out for signs such as gastroenteritis, skin burns, muscle spasms, hypokalaemia, extrasystoles and irritation in the upper respiratory system. 

3. What are Some Unique and Lesser-known Uses of Barium Nitrate?

Ans. Barium nitrate has several well-known applications, while others are not as well advertised. For instance, it is a crucial additive in the chemical photoflash procedure. Additionally, the same is used as raw material to manufacture neon sign lightings, which is a common aid used for marketing purposes. A small amount of the compound also acts as the source of barium oxide in the formation of enamels.

4. What are the Two Methods of Manufacturing Barium Nitrate on an Industrial Scale?

Ans. For large-scale production, manufacturing units generally follow one of two primary modes. In the first process, suspended barium carbonate is reacted with nitric acid. After this process is complete, the nitrate is crystallised using vacuum evaporation method.

The second procedure involves mixing barium sulphide with nitric acid. One must carefully remove any sulphur and heavy metals from the resulting reaction first. Next, barium nitrate is crystallised at exceptionally low temperatures.