Heaviest element yet detected in an exoplanet atmosphere

Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO's VLT), astronomers have discovered the heaviest element ever found in an exoplanet atmosphere—barium. They were surprised to discover barium at high altitudes ...

Trio create artificial magnetic wormhole

(Phys.org)—A trio of physicists with the Autonomous University of Barcelona has built what they claim is the first artificial magnetic wormhole. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, Jordi Prat-Camps, ...

'Ideal' energy storage material for electric vehicles developed

The energy-storage goal of a polymer dielectric material with high energy density, high power density and excellent charge-discharge efficiency for electric and hybrid vehicle use has been achieved by a team of Penn State ...

Barium leaches directly from fracked rocks, study finds

Dartmouth College researchers are shedding light on the early chemical reactions in the organic sediments that would ultimately become the Marcellus Shale, a major source of natural gas and petroleum.

New fiber nanogenerators could lead to electric clothing

(PhysOrg.com) -- In research that gives literal meaning to the term "power suit," University of California, Berkeley, engineers have created energy-scavenging nanofibers that could one day be woven into clothing and textiles.

New capacitors to improve electric vehicles

Scientists from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed a new lead-free, high temperature ceramic capacitor that could improve the efficiency and reliability of electric and hybrid vehicles.

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Barium ( /ˈbɛəriəm/ bair-ee-əm) is a chemical element with the symbol Ba and atomic number 56. It is the fifth element in Group 2, a soft silvery metallic alkaline earth metal. Barium is never found in nature in its pure form due to its reactivity with air. Its oxide is historically known as baryta but it reacts with water and carbon dioxide and is not found as a mineral. The most common naturally occurring minerals are the very insoluble barium sulfate, BaSO4 (barite), and barium carbonate, BaCO3 (witherite). Barium's name originates from Greek barys (βαρύς), meaning "heavy", describing the high density of some common barium-containing ores.

Barium has few industrial applications, but the metal has been historically used to scavenge air in vacuum tubes. Barium compounds impart a green color to flames and have been used in fireworks. Barium sulfate is used for its density, insolubility, and X-ray opacity. It is used as an insoluble heavy mud-like paste when drilling oil wells, and in purer form, as an X-ray radiocontrast agent for imaging the human gastrointestinal tract. Soluble barium compounds are poisonous due to release of the soluble barium ion, and have been used as rodenticides. New uses for barium continue to be sought. It is a component of some "high temperature" YBCO superconductors, and electroceramics.

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