Series in which Ray Mears explores how the awesome wilderness of the
North American continent shaped the story of the Wild West.
Runtime: 60 minutes
How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears - Strontium - Netflix
Strontium is the chemical element with symbol Sr and atomic number 38.
An alkaline earth metal, strontium is a soft silver-white yellowish
metallic element that is highly reactive chemically. The metal forms a
dark oxide layer when it is exposed to air. Strontium has physical and
chemical properties similar to those of its two vertical neighbors in
the periodic table, calcium and barium. It occurs naturally mainly in
the minerals celestine and strontianite, and is mostly mined from these.
While natural strontium is stable, the synthetic 90Sr isotope is
radioactive and is one of the most dangerous components of nuclear
fallout, as strontium is absorbed by the body in a similar manner to
calcium. Natural stable strontium, on the other hand, is not hazardous
to health. Both strontium and strontianite are named after Strontian, a
village in Scotland near which the mineral was discovered in 1790 by
Adair Crawford and William Cruickshank; it was identified as a new
element the next year from its crimson-red flame test color. Strontium
was first isolated as a metal in 1808 by Humphry Davy using the
then-newly discovered process of electrolysis. During the 19th century,
Strontium was mostly used in the production of sugar from sugar beet
(see strontian process). At the peak of production of television cathode
ray tubes, as much as 75 percent of strontium consumption in the United
States was used for the faceplate glass. With the replacement of cathode
ray tubes with other display methods, consumption of strontium has
How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears - Radioactive strontium - Netflix
89Sr is the active ingredient in Metastron, a radiopharmaceutical used
for bone pain secondary to metastatic bone cancer. The strontium is
processed like calcium by the body, preferentially incorporating it into
bone at sites of increased osteogenesis. This localization focuses the
radiation exposure on the cancerous lesion.
90Sr has been used as a power source for radioisotope thermoelectric
generators (RTGs). 90Sr produces approximately 0.93 watts of heat per
gram (it is lower for the form of 90Sr used in RTGs, which is strontium
fluoride). However, 90Sr has one third the lifetime and a lower density
than 238Pu, another RTG fuel. The main advantage of 90Sr is that it is
cheaper than 238Pu and is found in nuclear waste. The Soviet Union
deployed nearly 1000 of these RTGs on its northern coast as a power
source for lighthouses and meteorology stations.
How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears - References - Netflix