Chemical Fact Sheet


Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 7440-46-2
Synonyms CAESIUM (DOT); CESIUM (DOT); CESIUM-133; UN1407 (DOT)
Analytical Methods 200.8 - 6020
Atomic Symbol Cs

Synopsis from the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 92nd Edition 2011-2013

Cesium — (L. caesius, sky blue), Cs; at. wt. 132.9054519(2); at. no. 55; m.p. 28.44 °C; b.p. 671 °C; sp. gr. 1.873 (20 °C); valence 1. Cesium was discovered spectroscopically by Bunsen and Kirchhoff in 1860 in mineral water from Durkheim. Cesium, an alkali metal, occurs in lepidolite, pollucite (a hydrated silicate of aluminum and cesium), and in other sources. One of the world’s richest sources of cesium is located at Bernic Lake, Manitoba. The deposits are estimated to contain 300,000 tons of pollucite, averaging 20% cesium. It can be isolated by electrolysis of the fused cyanide and by a number of other methods. Very pure, gas-free cesium can be prepared by thermal decomposition of cesium azide. The metal is characterized by a spectrum containing two bright lines in the blue along with several others in the red, yellow, and green. It is silvery white, soft, and ductile. It is the most electropositive and most alkaline element. Cesium, gallium, and mercury are the only three metals that are liquid at room temperature. Cesium reacts explosively with cold water, and reacts with ice at temperatures above –116 °C. Cesium hydroxide, the strongest base known, attacks glass. Because of its great affinity for oxygen the metal is used as a “getter” in electron tubes. It is also used in photoelectric cells, as well as a catalyst in the hydrogenation of certain organic compounds. The metal has recently found application in ion propulsion systems. Cesium is used in atomic clocks, which are accurate to 5 s in 300 years. A second of time is now defined as being the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyper-fine levels of the ground state of the cesium-133 atom. Its chief compounds are the chloride and the nitrate. Cesium has 52 isotopes and isomers with masses ranging from 112 to 148. The present price of cesium is about $50/g (99.98%) sealed in a glass ampoule.

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