Yttrium is a lanthanide group metal which is found in most rare earth minerals, particularly yttrotantalite which, whilst containing yttrium and tantalum, also contains niobium, cerium, uranium, iron and calcium in varying amounts. The metal is stable in air due to the formation of an oxide film, but it will burn easily and will react with water to produce hydrogen. Yttrium is used as yttrium phosphor to produce the red colours on television screens and monitors. It also finds applications as a constituent of superconductors as well as in X-ray filters, superalloys and fireproof bricks. The radioactive isotope, 90Y, can be used as needles to treat pain transmitting nerves in the spinal area.


J. Gadolin in Abo, Finland, in 1794.

Found in Ytterby, Sweden, the town which gave its name to several elements. It has an abundance of 30 ppm in the earth’s crust.

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Atomic number 39 Clip
Atomic / Molecular Weight 88.9059 gmol-1Clip
Density 4475 kgm-3Clip
Crystal Structure hcp / bcc at 1763K Clip
Lattice constant 365 fmClip
Melting Point 1783 KClip
Boiling Point 3573 KClip
Specific heat capacity 297 Jkg-1K-1Clip
Thermal conductivity 17 Wm-1K-1Clip
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See also: Periodic Table.

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Subjects: Chemistry