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It's Elemental

The Element Holmium

[Click for Isotope Data]


67 Ho Holmium 164.93033

Atomic Number: 67

Atomic Weight: 164.93033

Melting Point: 1747 K (1474°C or 2685°F)

Boiling Point: 2973 K (2700°C or 4892°F)

Density: 8.80 grams per cubic centimeter

Phase at Room Temperature: Solid

Element Classification: Metal

Period Number: 6

Group Number: none

Group Name: Lanthanide

What's in a name? From the Latin word for the city of Stockholm, Holmia.

Say what? Holmium is pronounced as HOHL-mee-em.

History and Uses:

Holmium was discovered by Per Theodor Cleve, a Swedish chemist, in 1879. Cleve used the same method Carl Gustaf Mosander used to discover lanthanum, erbium and terbium, he looked for impurities in the oxides of other rare earth elements. He started with erbia, the oxide of erbium (Er2O3), and removed all of the known contaminants. After further processing, he obtained two new materials, one brown and the other green. Cleve named the brown material holmia and the green material thulia. Holmia is the oxide of the element holmium and thulia is the oxide of the element thulium. Holmium's absorption spectrum was observed earlier that year by J. L. Soret and M. Delafontaine, Swiss chemists. Today, holmium is primarily obtained through an ion exchange process from monazite sand ((Ce, La, Th, Nd, Y)PO4), a material rich in rare earth elements that can contain as much as 0.05% holmium.

Holmium has no commercial applications, although it has unusual magnetic properties that could be exploited in the future.

Holmium forms no commercially important compounds. Some of holmium's compounds include: holmium oxide (Ho2O3), holmium fluoride (HoF3) and holmium iodide (HoI3).

Estimated Crustal Abundance: 1.3 milligrams per kilogram

Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 2.2×10-7 milligrams per liter

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

Ionization Energy: 6.022 eV

Oxidation States: +3

Electron Shell Configuration:


2s2   2p6

3s2   3p6   3d10

4s2   4p6   4d10   4f11

5s2   5p6


Citation and linking information

For questions about this page, please contact Steve Gagnon.