Barium sulphate or Barium sulfate is a neutral chemical compound formed of barium and sulphate or sulfate ions. Typically, a chemical compound has sulfate or sulphate to its name when it consists of a sulphate anion which is a polyanion formed of sulfur and oxygen. The sulphate polyanion has the molecular formula as SO42- and the electrical charge present on the sulphate anion is -3. Hence, for a sulphate compound or salt, there should be a cation with a positive charge and the same value which is +2 which In this case is provided by barium cation as it has the property to lose two of its electrons in the outermost valence shell for achieving an octet configuration, which is Ba2+. Hence, both of them combine to form a neutral salt they form barium sulphate. The barium sulphate formula or the barium sulfate formula is therefore given as BaSO4. As a general rule, here too, the molecular formula of barium sulphate is the same as the chemical formula of barium sulphate.
Properties of Barium Sulphate
In nature, barium sulphate occurs as a mineral known as barite which is also the main commercial method for getting barium. The crystal structure of barium sulphate is orthorhombic. The structural formula of the components mentioned in the barium sulfate formula is given below:
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Some of the other physical properties that are commonly used to define the barium sulphate compound are as follows:
The molecular mass of barium sulphate as determined by the barium sulphate formula is 233.38 g/mol.
The density of the compound, which cannot be determined from the formula of barium sulphate, is 4.49 g.cm3.
It is a completely odourless compound.
The solubility of the compound is also varying. The solubility of the compound having the barium sulphate formula is insoluble in alcohol and water but is soluble in highly concentrated hot sulphuric acid.
The melting point of barium sulphate is 1580℃ and it decomposes beyond 1600℃.
It is a noncombustible substance.
Production and Use of Barium Sulphate
Barium sulphate is commercially obtained from the mineral barite. But the mineral barite is highly impure. It is usually processed by the thermo-chemical sulphate reduction (TSR), which is commonly known as carbothermal reduction, basically heating with coke, which produces barium sulphide. The reaction describing the barium sulfate formula is given below:
BaSO4 + 4C → BaS + 4CO.
Barium sulphide in turn can be converted into oxide, carbonate and halides. For example, when barium sulphide is treated with sulfuric acid or sulfate salts, it produces barium sulphate. The reaction depicting the stoichiometric balance in the molecular formula of barium sulphate
BaS + H2SO4 → BaSO4 + H2S
Thus, this is the manner in which barium sulphate is produced which is recognised in the given equation by the barium sulphate chemical formula or the barium sulfate chemical formula. Usually, after the reaction barium sulphate is obtained in the form of precipitate. Barium sulphate precipitate formula is the same as the chemical formula of barium sulphate.
The Following are Some of the Uses of Barium Sulphate:
One of the most common uses of barium sulphate that has been produced industrially from its mineral is its use as a drilling fluid. It is used extensively as an oil well drilling fluid as it increases the density of the fluid and causes an increase in hydrostatic pressure.
It is used in suspensions and most frequently used as a radiocontrast agent for X-ray imaging and other diagnostic procedures.
It is used especially in the imaging techniques of the gastrointestinal tract and the procedure is known as “barium meal”.
Another use that is common and industrial is its use as a component in the white pigment for paints. It is used in oil paint as a filter to modify the consistency of the paint.
A thin layer of barium sulphate which is known as baryta is used as a coating on the basal surface of most photographic papers in order to increase the reflectiveness of the image.
Barium sulphate has found its use in testing the quality of the soil as well. It is used to test the soil for pH and determine other soil quality indicators such as soil colour.
In pyrotechnic formulas, barium sulphate is used for its speciality of being able to emit green flames. It is commonly used as a component of the “strobe” pyrotechnic compositions.
Barium sulphate has a high melting point and is insoluble in water and as a result, it is used for the release of the material in casting of copper anode plates.