Barium Thiosulfate

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barium thiosulfate is an orally administered medication used to help doctors see certain parts of your body with x-rays or computed tomography (CT scan; a type of imaging test that creates cross-sectional and three-dimensional pictures of the inside of the body). It is in a class of medications called radiopaque contrast media. It works by coating the esophagus, stomach, and intestine so they show up better on x-ray or CT images.

The crystalline mineral barite, BaSO4, from which this medication is made, occurs naturally in the form of a soft sedimentary rock known as bentonite. It is also produced as a purified synthetic compound. Barium sulfate is odorless, tasteless, and colorless in its pure form. It has a high melting point and is insoluble in water but is soluble in concentrated sulfuric acid. Its crystal structure is rhombic and it has a hardness of 4.3 to 4.6 Mohs.

About 80% of the world’s barium sulfate production, mostly from the mineral form, is consumed as a component of oil well drilling fluid. It increases the density of the fluid, thus increasing hydrostatic pressure in the well and reducing the chance of a blowout during the drilling process.

A variety of chemical applications for barium sulfate exist because it is almost completely Lambertian in its reflectance in the UV-VIS-NIR wavelength range and can be used as a paint or spray. It is sometimes mixed with PTFE or glass to coat the interior of integrating spheres because it provides a nearly perfect diffuse reflectance.

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