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The Element Yttrium

[Click for Isotope Data]





Atomic Number: 39

Atomic Weight: 88.90585

Melting Point: 1795 K (1522°C or 2772°F)

Boiling Point: 3618 K (3345°C or 6053°F)

Density: 4.47 grams per cubic centimeter

Phase at Room Temperature: Solid

Element Classification: Metal

Period Number: 5    Group Number: 3    Group Name: none

What's in a name? Named for the village of Ytterby, Sweden.

Say what? Yttrium is pronounced as IT-ree-em.

History and Uses:

Yttrium was discovered by Johan Gadolin, a Finnish chemist, while analyzing the composition of the mineral gadolinite ((Ce, La, Nd, Y)2FeBe2Si2O10) in 1789. Gadolinite, which was named for Johan Gadolin, was discovered several years earlier in a quarry near the town of Ytterby, Sweden. Today, yttrium is primarily obtained through an ion exchange process from monazite sand ((Ce, La, Th, Nd, Y)PO4), a material rich in rare earth elements.

Although metallic yttrium is not widely used, several of its compounds are. Yttrium oxide (Y2O3) and yttrium orthovanadate (YVO4) are both combined with europium to produce the red phosphor used in color televisions. Garnets made from yttrium and iron (Y3Fe5O12) are used as microwave filters in microwave communications equipment. Garnets made from yttrium and aluminum (Y3Al5O12) are used in jewelry as simulated diamond.

Estimated Crustal Abundance: 3.3×101 milligrams per kilogram

Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 1.3×10-5 milligrams per liter

Number of Stable Isotopes: 1   (View all isotope data)

Ionization Energy: 6.217 eV

Oxidation States: +3

Electron Shell Configuration:


2s2   2p6

3s2   3p6   3d10

4s2   4p6   4d1