Wikijunior:The Elements/Rubidium

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Shows the position of Rubidium on the periodic chart.
Rubidium's symbol on the Periodic Table

What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?[edit]

Rubidium is silvery white. It is a soft metal — ductile, meaning it can be drawn out into thin wire without breaking.

How was it discovered?[edit]

It was discovered in 1861 by two German chemists, Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff, using flame spectroscopy. Flame spectroscopy was a new technique at the time; scientists heat material with a flame and observe the spectrum of light the material emits.

Where did its name come from?[edit]

Did You Know?

  • Rubidium ignites spontaneously in the air.
  • It helps make fireworks purple.
  • The name Rubidium comes from the latin term for "deep red," Rubidus

Bunsen and Kirchhoff named this element after the color of the light they observed from it with their spectroscope. The Latin word rubidus means red.

Where is it found?[edit]

What are its uses?[edit]

Rubidium is used in some fireworks, for its color. It is also used for various high-tech devices, including lasers and high-precision clocks.

Is it dangerous?[edit]

Rubidium burns when exposed to water, like potassium.