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Erbium metal

General characteristics

Erbium is 68th element of the 3rd group of periodic system, where it is designated as Er. It is soft silvery-white rare-earth metal that relates to a group of lanthanides. Atomic number is 167,26. It was invented by professor of Stockholm University Karl Mosander in 1843. He separated a new element from mineral that was located near to Ytterby city. As a consequence, it was named in honor of this city. Its content in earth crust constitutes 3,3 g/t. Usually, this element is included into deposits along with hard lanthanides. It is obtained by industrial method of liquid-alloy electrolysis with chlorine salts of potassium, calcium, sodium.

Physic and chemical properties

Erbium density is 9,062 g/cm³, melting point is 1529 °C, boiling temperature is 2510 °C. Valency is positive +3. It has hexagonal lattice with such dimensions: а = 0,35 588 and c = 0,55 874 millimicrons. MRL of erbium is not more 4 mg/m3 in air. It can easily react with oxygen, bromium, fluoride, iodine, chllorium with salifications.

Physical properties of Er

Description Identification
Atomic (molal) weight mole/h 167.26
Atomic number 68
Density [g/cm3]

Melting point 1529°С
Oxidation rate 3
Heat conductivity K [V/m*K] 14.5
Molecular volume cm3/mole 18.4


It is used in laser and fibreoptics, nuclear energetics. Erbium conduces to activation of phosphorus when smelting of magnetic alloys of cobalt and iron. A mixture of Er2 O3 oxide and uranium oxide significantly improves energy distribution, safety, technical-economical recoil of power LWGR. This element is present in regulative cores of nuclear piles. It is added to quartz mixture of Er2 O3 oxide for manufacture of optical fibres. High-efficient lasers cannot do without single-crystalline oxide. Er2 O3 is included in a composition of luminophors, lasers glasses, special ceramics. Erbium salts are much-requested for smelting of special coloured glass that has high absorbing coefficient of infra-red rays. GOST 23 862 22−79 specifies a definition of erbium oxide additives by spectral method. Available mill-products: wire, rod, flat products.

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