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Yttrium metal

General characteristics

Yttrium is a metal of light-grey color. It is an element of the fifth period of supplementary subgroup of periodic system, where it is designated as Y with the number 39. It is an analog of lanthanum. It has two crystalline modifications: with cubic body-centered β-lattice in terms of iron and hexagonal α-lattice in terms of magnesium. Y2 O3 oxide was first separated in 1794 by Finnish chemist Johan Gadolin who has named this metal. Percentage abundance is 26 g/t. Its content in seawater constitutes 0.0003 mg/l. Y2 O3 oxide is mixed with oxide of terbium and erbium. This metal neighbours with lanthanides in mineral stock. Yttrium is obtained from mixture of rare-earth metal extractions and at ionic exchange.

Physical properties of Y

Description Identification
Atomic (molal) weight mole/h 88.9
Oxidation rate 3
Density [g/cm3]

Melting point 1523°С
Melting heat kJ/mole 11.5
Heat conductivity K [V/m*K] 17.2
Evaporation heat kJ/mole 367

Chemical properties

In air, yttrium cover with dense protective oxide film, which starts blackening at a temperature of 370−425°С. Active oxidizing begins at a temperature of 750 °C and higher. During heating, this metal interrelates with halogens, hydrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and nitrogen. This metal can be dissolved in spirit of verdigris, mineral acids. It does not react with hydrogen fluoride and it corrodes at water boiling.


Yttrium relates to a group of non-ferrous metals. Available mill-products: sheet, wire, bars. It is much-requested in the capacity of thermoelectric material. Its main compound is telluride, which has the highest thermoelectric force (about 921 uV/K) among tellurides. It possesses high melting point, low density, and strength. Alloying with yttrium is applied for manufacture of thermoelectric generators that have high effervescive.

Oxide Y2 O3 possesses high resistance to heating in air. It hammer-hardens as a refractory along with temperature rise (maximum up to 1000°С). It is suitable for melting of some highly-active metals including yttrium itself. It is indispensable for casting of uranium. Yttrium is also applied for heating ceramic elements, arc welding, in manufacture of magnetic materials, metal alloying. Air-space industry, nuclear techniques, motor-vehicle engineering are considered to be the prospective spheres of yttrium application.


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