Is Strontium a Metal or Nonmetal? (And Why?)

Strontium is a metal. It is an alkaline earth metal that belongs to Group 2 of the periodic table. Like other metals, it has a shiny appearance, is a good conductor of heat and electricity, and is malleable and ductile. 1

Well, this was just a simple answer. But there are few more things to know about this topic which will make your concept super clear.

So let’s dive right into it.

Key Takeaways: Is strontium a metal or nonmetal?

  • Strontium is a metal and belongs to the alkaline earth metal group in the periodic table.
  • Strontium has physical and chemical properties typical of metals, such as metallic luster, high electrical and thermal conductivity, ductility, malleability, and forms positive ions.
  • Strontium differs from other metals in terms of its reactivity, radioactivity, density, flame color, medical and optical applications.

Why is strontium a metal?

Strontium is a metal because it has the physical and chemical properties that are typical of metals. It is a member of the group of elements known as the alkaline earth metals, which are located in group 2 of the periodic table. 2

Some of the characteristics of metals include a shiny appearance, good conductivity of heat and electricity, malleability, ductility, and a tendency to form positively charged ions by losing electrons. 

Strontium displays all of these properties. It has a silvery-white appearance, it is a good conductor of heat and electricity, and it can be easily molded into various shapes. 3

Additionally, when strontium loses its two valence electrons, it forms a positively charged ion, which is a common behavior of metals. 4

Therefore, based on its physical and chemical properties, strontium is classified as a metal.

Properties of strontium that classify it as a metal

Here are some of the properties of strontium that classify it as a metal:

  • Metallic luster: Strontium has a shiny, metallic appearance, which is a characteristic of metals. When light hits its surface, it reflects in a way that creates a shiny and reflective appearance.
  • High electrical conductivity: Metals are good conductors of electricity, and strontium is no exception. It has a high electrical conductivity, meaning it can easily carry an electric current. 5
  • High thermal conductivity: In addition to its electrical conductivity, strontium also has a high thermal conductivity. This means that it can efficiently transfer heat.
  • Ductility: Ductility refers to a material’s ability to be stretched or pulled into a wire or other thin shape without breaking. Strontium is ductile, which is another characteristic of metals.
  • Malleability: Malleability refers to a material’s ability to be hammered or pressed into different shapes without cracking or breaking. Strontium is malleable and can be shaped into various forms without losing its metallic properties.
  • Forms positive ions: Metals tend to lose electrons to form positively charged ions, and strontium is no exception. When it loses its two valence electrons, it forms a positively charged ion.

Overall, these properties demonstrate that strontium has the physical and chemical characteristics that are typical of metals.

How is strontium different from other metals?

Here are some ways in which strontium differs from other metals:

  • Reactivity: Strontium is more reactive than some other metals, such as copper or silver. It reacts vigorously with water to produce strontium hydroxide and hydrogen gas. 6 7
  • Radioactivity: One of the isotopes of strontium, strontium-90, is a radioactive material that is formed during nuclear fission. This isotope can be harmful to living organisms and the environment. 8 9
  • Density: Strontium has a lower density than many other metals, including iron and copper. Its density is comparable to that of aluminum.
  • Flame color: When strontium compounds are burned, they produce a bright red flame. This property is used in fireworks and flares to create a distinctive red color.
  • Medical applications: Strontium has medical applications, including the treatment of osteoporosis. Strontium ranelate is a drug used to increase bone density in patients with this condition.
  • Optical applications: Strontium compounds are used in optical applications, such as the manufacture of lenses and prisms, due to their high refractive index and low dispersion. 10 11 12

These are just a few examples of how strontium differs from other metals in various ways.

Further reading

Is Silver a Metal or Nonmetal?
Is Cadmium a Metal?
Is Tin a Metal or Nonmetal?
Is Iodine a Metal or Nonmetal?
Is Xenon a Metal? 

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Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. He is a founder of Pediabay and is passionate about helping students through his easily digestible explanations.

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  1. Malmquist, S., & Prescott, K. (n.d.). The Periodic Table – Human Biology 2nd edition. The Periodic Table – Human Biology 2nd Edition.
  2. Boudreaux, K. A. (n.d.). The Parts of the Periodic Table. The Parts of the Periodic Table.
  3. Strontium – Element information, properties and uses | Periodic Table. (n.d.). Strontium – Element Information, Properties and Uses | Periodic Table.
  4. P. (n.d.). Strontium ion. Strontium Ion | Sr+2 – PubChem.
  5. Strontium | chemical element. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica.
  6. Strontium. (n.d.). Strontium.
  7. Chemistry of Strontium (Z=38). (2013, October 2). Chemistry LibreTexts.
  9. Radionuclide Basics: Strontium-90 | US EPA. (2015, April 15). US EPA.
  10. Shaili, H., Salmani, E., Beraich, M., Elhat, A., Rouchdi, M., Taibi, M., Ez-Zahraouy, H., Hassanain, N., & Mzerd, A. (2021). Revealing the impact of strontium doping on the optical, electronic and electrical properties of nanostructured 2H-CuFeO2 delafossite thin films. RSC Advances, 11(41), 25686–25694.
  11. Höllriegl, V. (2019). Other Environmental Health Issues: Strontium in the Environment and Possible Human Health Effects. Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, 797–802.
  12. Tihtih, M., Ibrahim, J. E. F. M., Basyooni, M. A., En-nadir, R., Belaid, W., Abdelfattah, M. M., Hussainova, I., Pszota, G., & Kocserha, I. (2023, January 7). Enhanced optical and thermal conductivity properties of barium titanate ceramic via strontium doping for thermo-optical applications. Optical and Quantum Electronics, 55(3).

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