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Rubidium fluoride (RbF), a minor metal fluoride with rock-salt structure, is a white crystalline powder. It is hygroscopic, soluble in water and very dilute hydrofluoric acid solution but insoluble in ethanol, ether or liquid ammonia. It is used as a raw material for the preparation of metallic rubidium and various rubidium salts, as a chemical reagent, as a crystal scintillation counter and also for production of catalysts.
The melting point of a solid is determined by the strength of intermolecular forces that hold the particles in their crystal lattice. The stronger the forces are, the higher the melting point. The lattice energy is dependent on the charges and sizes of the ions. The greater the charge and the smaller the ionic radius, the more lattice energy.
RbF and BeO, two highly ionic compounds with very different melting points, have similar lattice energies. This is due to similar ionic sizes and the close packing of ions. The forces that hold the Be2+ and O2- ions in BeO together are therefore much stronger than those that hold RbF and LiF ions together.
To determine the melting point of a sample, the specimen was placed in a graphite crucible and heated to temperature by a Pt / Pt- 13% Rh thermocouple. A recorder with a suppressed zero and a Leeds and Northrup potentiometer recorded the electromotive force (emf) produced by the melted substance as it cooled. Cooling rates were controlled by a Honeywell 3-mode program controller. A random-split cross validation procedure was performed. The flash and boiling points of all samples, after purification, were within error equal to or better than those reported in the literature.