A member of the lanthanide group of elements, erbium is a silver grey metal. It has high electrical resistivity and has properties similar to holmium and dysprosium. It is always found in combination with other rare earths, being found in small quantities in the same minerals as dysprosium (gadolinite, fergusonite and xenotime). It slowly tarnishes in air, reacts slowly with water and dissolves in acids. It has limited applications as a pure metal, but is used as an alloying element with titanium and is also used to produce infra-red absorbing glass. Erbium oxide is used within the ceramics industry to produce a pink glaze.


C.G. Mosander in 1842 in Stockholm, Sweden.

3.8 ppm in the Earth’s crust.

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Atomic number 68 Clip
Atomic / Molecular Weight 167.26 gmol-1Clip
Density 9044 kgm-3Clip
Lattice constant 356 fmClip
Melting Point 1793 KClip
Boiling Point 2873 KClip
Specific heat capacity 167 Jkg-1K-1Clip
Thermal conductivity 15 Wm-1K-1Clip
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See also: Erbium Hexaboride, Erbium III Boride, Erbium III Bromide, Erbium III Oxide, Periodic Table.

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Subjects: Chemistry