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The use of Barium sulfate

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PostSubject: The use of Barium sulfate Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:28 pm

Barium sulfate is the inorganic compound with the chemical formula BaSO4. It is a white crystalline solid that is insoluble in water. It occurs as the mineral barite, which is the main commercial source of barium and materials prepared from it. The white opaque appearance and its high density are exploited in its main applications.
The majority of synthetic barium sulfate is used as a component of white pigment for paints.
In oil paint, Barium sulfate is almost transparent,and is used as a filler or to modify consistency. One major manufacturer of artists' oil paint sells "permanent white" that contains a mixture of titanium white pigment (TiO2) and barium sulfate. The combination of barium sulfate and zinc sulfide (ZnS) is the inorganic pigment called lithopone. In photography it is used as a coating for certain photographic papers.
Barium sulfate is frequently used clinically as a radiocontrast agent for X-ray imaging and other diagnostic procedures. It is most often used in imaging of the GI tract during what is colloquially known as a 'barium meal'. It is administered, orally or by enema, as a suspension of fine particles in an aqueous solution (often with sweetening agents added). Although barium is a heavy metal, and its water-soluble compounds are often highly toxic, the low solubility of barium sulfate protects the patient from absorbing harmful amounts of the metal. Barium sulfate is also readily removed from the body, unlike Thorotrast, which it replaced. Due to the relatively high atomic number (Z = 56) of barium, its compounds absorb X-rays more strongly than compounds derived from lighter nuclei.
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