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Strontium Yttrium Zirconium
Name, Symbol, NumberYttrium, Y, 39
Chemical series transition metals
Group, Period, Block3 (IIIB), 5 , d
Density, Hardness 4472 kg/m3, __
Appearance Silvery white
Atomic Properties
Atomic weight 88.90585 amu
Atomic radius (calc.) 180 (212) pm
Covalent radius 162 pm
van der Waals radius no data
Electron configuration [Kr]4d4d15s2
e- 's per energy level2, 8, 18, 9, 2
Oxidation states (Oxide) 3 (weak base)
Crystal structure Hexagonal
Physical Properties
State of matter Solid (__)
Melting point 1799 K (2779 F)
Boiling point 3609 K (6037 F)
Molar volume 19.88 ×1010-3 m3/mol
Heat of vaporization 363 kJ/mol
Heat of fusion 11.4 kJ/mol
Vapor pressure 5.31 Pa at 1799 K
Speed of sound 3300 m/s at 293.15 K
Electronegativity 1.22 (Pauling scale)
Specific heat capacity 300 J/(kg*K)
Electrical conductivity 1.66 106/m ohm
Thermal conductivity 17.2 W/(m*K)
1st ionization potential 600 kJ/mol
2nd ionization potential 1180 kJ/mol
3rd ionization potential 1980 kJ/mol
4th ionization potential 5847 kJ/mol
5th ionization potential 7430 kJ/mol
6th ionization potential 8970 kJ/mol
7th ionization potential 11190 kJ/mol
8th ionization potential 12450 kJ/mol
9th ionization potential 14110 kJ/mol
10th ionization potential 18400 kJ/mol
Most Stable Isotopes
isoNALongest t is 106.65 d (Y-88)
89Y100%Y is stable with 50 neutrons
SI units & STP are used except where noted.
Yttrium is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Y and atomic number 39. A silvery metallic transition metal, yttrium is common in rare-earth minerals and two of its compounds are used to make the red color in color televisions.

Table of contents
1 Notable Characteristics
2 Applications
3 History
4 Occurrence
5 Isotopes
6 Precautions
7 External Links

Notable Characteristics

Yttrium is a silver-metallic, lustrous rare earth metal that is relatively stable in air and chemically resembles the lanthanides. Shavings or turnings of the metal can ignite in air when they exceed 400 °C. When yttrium is finely divided it is very unstable in air. The metal has a low cross section for nuclear capture. The common oxidation state of yttrium is +3.


Yttrium oxide is the most important yttrium compound and is widely used to make YVO4 europium and Y2O3 europium phosphors that give the red color in color television picture tubes. Other uses; Yttrium has been studied for possible use as a nodulizer in the making of nodular cast iron which has increased ductility (the graphite forms compact nodules instead of flakes to form nodular cast iron). Potentially, yttrium can be used in ceramic and glass formulas, since yttrium oxide has a high melting point and imparts shock resistance and low expansion characteristics to glass.


Yttrium (
Ytterby, a Swedish village near Vauxholm) was discovered by Johann Gadolin in 1794 and isolated by Friedrich Wohler in 1828 as an impure extract of yttria through the reduction of yttrium anhydrous chloride (YCl3) with potassium. Yttria (Y2O3) is the oxide of yttruim and was discovered by Johan Gadolin in 1794 in a gadolinite mineral from Ytterby.

In 1843 Carl Mosander was able to show that yttira could be divided into the oxides (or earths) of three different elements. "Yttria" was the name used for the most basic one and the others were named erbia and terbia.

A quarry is located near the village of Ytterby that yielded many unusual minerals that contained rare earths and other elements. The elements erbium, terbium, and ytterbium and yttrium have all been named after this same town.


This element is found in almost all rare earth minerals and in uranium ores but is never found in nature as a free element. Yttrium is commercially recovered from monazite sand (3% content, [(Ce, La, etc.)PO4) and from bastnasite (0.2% content, [(Ce, La, etc.)(COO3)F]). It is commercially produced by reducing yttrium fluoride with calcium metal but it can also be produced using other techniques. It is difficult to separate from other rare earths and when extracted, is a dark gray powder.

Lunar rock samples from the Apollo program have a relatively high yttrium content.


Natural yttrium is composed of only one isotope (Y-89). The most stable radioisotopes are Y-88 which has a half life of 106.65 days and Y-91 with a half life of 58.51 days. All the other isotopes have half lifes of less than a day except Y-87 which has a half life of 79.8 hours. The dominant decay mode below the stable Y-89 is electron capture and the dominant mode after it is beta emission. Twenty six unstable isotopes have been characterized.

Y-90 exists in equilibrium with its parent isotope strontium-90, which is a product of nuclear explosions.


Compounds that contain this element are rarely encountered by most people but should be considered to be highly toxic even though many compounds pose little risk. Yttrium salts may be cancerous. This element is not normally found in human tissue and plays no known biological role.

External Links