Home SCIENCE Rubidium Metal That’s More Expensive Than Gold

Rubidium Metal That’s More Expensive Than Gold


Rubidium is an active alkali metal, which is in the first group of the periodic table of chemical elements, below potassium.Due to its extremely high activity rubidium is stored in glass ampoules under vacuum or inert atmosphere such as argon.In the vial you can observe the shiny surface of rubidium.Before we conduct our experiments with rubidium, it must be removed from the ampoule, however, the ampoule must of course be first opened to do that.

source/image: Thoisoi2 – Chemical Experiments!

In order to open it, I took a file and scratched the ampoule to get a more flatten crack later on. Then I hit the ampoule with a hammer, and now it’s open.However, our rubidium is still trapped inside! To finally get it out of there, I used the small melting point of rubidium which is 39 degrees Celsius.

I heated the vial with the rubidium inside with a torch and poured off the resulted molten metal into the jar of kerosene. Because kerosene has water and oxygen impurities in it, rubidium oxidized very rapidly even in kerosene and becomes coated with a layer of peroxides.Rubidium is an incredibly soft metal, it’s hardness resembles a butter at room temperature.Now let’s conduct some chemical reactions with it.


To get started, simply cut off a piece of rubidium and leave it on a napkin. Because of the oxidation with oxygen, rubidium melts by the heat of the reaction.Nowadays the metal rubidium has little practical application primarily because of the high cost and few places to buy it. The cost of the ampoule with rubidium that I experimented with was around 500 euros.Please note that this video was made solely for demonstration purposes! Do not attempt to repeat the experiments shown in this video!/Thoisoi2