Rubidium

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Rubidium: Insights

Rubidium has several uses and has a minimal impact on the environment. Some uses of rubidium include atomic clock, a dating method, fireworks display, among others.

Uses of Rubidium

  • Industrially, rubidium is mostly used in making products such as photocells (converting light energy to electric energy), vapor reference cells, and lasers.
  • It makes a special kind of glass that removes gases from vacuum tubes. Rubidium bonds with various gases. This property is critical in eliminating other gases that may have been produced during the manufacturing stage.
  • It is used as an electrolytic additive in sodium ion batteries, used as a dietary supplement for illnesses such as depression. It is also ideal in promoting cardiovascular wellness. Although cesium would have been the preferred option, rubidium was used in ion engines.
  • Rubidium-strontium dating is a method utilized by scientists in determining the age of rocks and meteorites. This is done by determining the amount of Rb 87 and strontium isotopes that is still in the material.
  • Rubidium is one of the components of an atomic clock. This type of device would measure time accurately and frequently.
  • Rubidium is excellent as part of a fireworks display where the explosion's color is a purplish-red.

Human/Environmental Impact

  • There are no environments where rubidium is seen as a risk. The demand each year is very small and can be easily met. It has a slight slimulatory impact on metabolism. Plants will absorb this much faster than they would potassium.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Rubidium: Use

This research provides insights into rubidium exposure. Rubidium is found in foods and may be ingested. If over-exposure occurs, one may experience skin and eye burns, skin ulcers, hyper irritation, among others.

Overview of Rubidium

  • Although it is not a necessary part of living organisms, rubidium ions are treated just like potassium ions in plant and animal cells. When dissolved with water, it has a +1 oxidation state, as well as in all biological systems.
  • The human body treats it just as it would potassium. Rubidium in a body's intracellular fluids is not particularly toxic. Rubidium is found in many foods such as "garden tomato, sweet orange, black walnut, and coconut."

Levels of Exposure

  • The FDA has set safety measures and urges facilities to follow them to ensure that patients are not at risk. Safety labeling changes have been made with box warnings implemented for rubidium 82 generators.
  • Healthcare professionals and customers are expected to report any anomalies and quality problems in the system.

Exposure

  • Rubidium is present in other minerals such as pollucite and carnallite. The rubidium produced is primarily used in research as there is no incentive for commercial use.
  • When exposed to water, it becomes moderately toxic if ingested. If this substance ignites, it causes thermal burns. Additionally, when in contact with skin moisture, rubidium forms rubidium hydroxide which causes chemical burns to skin and eyes.
  • Other additional signs and symptoms include "failure to gain weight, ataxia, hyper irritation, skin ulcers, and extreme nervousness." Those with preexisting heart conditions and potassium imbalance are also aggravated by exposure to rubidium.
  • This research proves that humans may be exposed to rubidium through water, food, and medical scans. This proves that it cannot be transmitted by air.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "Environmental effects of rubidium Rubidium has no known biological role but has a slight slimulatory effect on metabolis, probably because it is like potassium. The two elements are found together in minerals and soils, although potassium is much more abundant than rubidium. Plant will adsorb rubidium quite quickly. When stresses by deficiency of potassium some plants, such as sugar beet, will respond to the addition of rubidium. In this way rubidium enters the food chain and so contributes to a daily intake of between 1 and 5 mg. No negative environmental effects have been reported."
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Rubidium is a chemical element with the symbol Rb and atomic number 37. Rubidium is not known to be necessary for any living organisms. However, like caesium, rubidium ions are handled by living organisms in a manner similar to potassium ions, being actively taken up by plants and by animal cells. Rubidium, like sodium and potassium, almost always has ==+1== oxidation state when dissolved in water, including its presence in all biological systems. The human body tends to treat Rb==+== ions as if they were potassium ions, and therefore concentrates rubidium in the body's intracellular fluid. The ions are not particularly toxic. [Wikipedia]. Rubidium is found in many foods, some of which are garden tomato, sweet orange, black walnut, and coconut."
Quotes
  • "Harmful effects: Rubidium is not known to be toxic."
Quotes
  • "Effects of exposure: water reactive. Moderately toxic by ingestion. If rubidium ignites, it will cause thermal burns. Rubidium readily reacts with skin moisture to form rubidium hydroxide, which causes chemical burns of eyes and skin. Signs and symptoms of overexposure: skin and eye burns. Failure to gain weight, ataxia, hyper irritation, skin ulcers, and extreme nervousness. Medical condition aggravated by exposure: heart patients, potassium imbalance."
  • "First aid: Eye: immediately flush with running water for 15 minutes while holding eyelid. Obtain medical attention immediately. Skin: remove material and flush with soap and water. Remove contaminated clothing. Get medical attention promptly. Inhalation: move to fresh air immediately. If irritation persists, get medical attention. Ingestion: do not induce vomiting. Get medical attention immediately."