Vanadium is a soft, shiny, silvery metal which can be found in many different minerals, including some crude oils. High purity metal can be obtained by the van Arkel process in which the iodide is decomposed on a hot filament under vacuum. Pure vanadium resists corrosion due to the formation of a protective oxide film on its surface; it is attacked by concentrated acids but not by fused alkalis. The principal use for vanadium is as an alloying constituent, particularly in steels where it is introduced as ferrovanadium, an alloy of iron and vanadium. The addition of vanadium to steels removes occluded oxygen and nitrogen, thus improving the materials’ strength. A typical vanadium content would be 0.5% max.


Added to steel and cast iron to improve ductility and shock resistance.

Mexico City in 1801 by A.M. del Rio, and was rediscovered in 1831 by N.G. Selfstrom in Falun, Sweden. Sefstrom named it after Vanadis, Scandinavian goddess of beauty and youth.

It has an abundance of 160 ppm in the earth’s crust and can be isolated after conversion to the pentoxide, V2O5, followed by direct reduction with aluminium.

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Atomic number 23 Clip
Atomic / Molecular Weight 50.9415 gmol-1Clip
Density 6090 kgm-3Clip
Crystal Structure bcc Clip
Lattice constant 302 fmClip
Melting Point 2193 KClip
Boiling Point 3673 KClip
Linear expansivity 0.0000084 K-1Clip
Specific heat capacity 481 Jkg-1K-1Clip
Thermal conductivity 31 Wm-1K-1Clip
Acoustic wave velocity (longitudinal bulk waves) 6023 ms-1Clip
Acoustic wave velocity (Irrotational waves) 4584 ms-1Clip
Acoustic wave velocity (Shear waves) 2774 ms-1Clip
Acoustic wave velocity (Rayleigh waves) 2600 ms-1Clip
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See also: Iron, Periodic Table, Steel.

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Subjects: Chemistry