Chemistry Learner

It's all about Chemistry

Ytterbium

What is Ytterbium

Ytterbium (pronunciation: i-TUR-bee-em) [2] is a malleable, ductile, bright silvery metal [3] that belongs to the group of lanthanides and is represented by the chemical symbol Yb [1]. It has seven stable naturally occurring isotopes, out of which 174Yb has the greatest natural abundance (32.03%), while 176Yb is the most long-lived with a half-life period of 1026 years [1, 4].

Where is it Found

Ytterbium, like other lanthanides, is commonly obtained from the mineral monazite and is separated through solvent extraction and ion exchange procedures [1]. The top 3 ytterbium-producing nations in the world are China, Russia, and Malaysia while the top 3 countries with the largest ytterbium reserves include China, CIS Countries, and the USA [1].

Ytterbium

History

Origin of its Name: It is named after Ytterby, a town in Sweden where the element was first found [1].

Who discovered it: Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac, a Swiss chemist, is known for its discovery [1].

When and How was it Discovered

In 1794, the Finnish chemist Johan Gadolin discovered yttrium, a metallic chemical element that the scientists believed was a source of other lanthanoids (rare-earth elements) [1, 2]. In 1843, the Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander separated yttrium into terbium and erbium [1]. While experimenting with erbium at the University of Geneva in 1878, Charles Marignac was able to isolate ytterbium by heating erbium nitrate, obtaining red erbium oxide and a whitish element that he named ytterbium [1].

In 1937, Klemm and Bonner heated ytterbium chloride together with potassium to produce a small quantity of impure ytterbium metal [1, 5]. A purer form of ytterbium metal was made in 1953 by David Dennison, A. Daane, and Frank Spedding at the Ames Laboratory in Iowa [5].

Ytterbium Identification

Atomic number 70 [1]
CAS number 7440-64-4 [1]
Position in the periodic table Group Period Block
  Lanthanides [1] 6 [1] f [1]

Properties and Characteristics of Ytterbium

General Properties

Atomic mass 173.045 amu [11]
Relative atomic mass 173.045 [1]

Physical Properties

Color Silvery-white [1, 5]
Melting point/freezing point 824 °C, 1515 °F [1]
Boiling point 1196 °C, 2185 °F [1]
Density 6.90 g cm-3 [1]
State of matter at room temperature (solid/liquid/gas) Solid [1, 5]
Hardness
– Brinell 343 MPa [6]
– Mohs Unknown [6]
– Vickers 206 MPa [6]
Electrical conductivity 0.0351X106 S/m [7]
Thermal (heat) conductivity 34.9 W/(m K) [6]
Specific heat 155 J kg-1 K-1 [1]
Bulk modulus 30.5 GPa [1]
Shear modulus 9.9 GPa [1]
Young’s modulus 23.9 GPa [1]
Vapor pressure
– Temperature (K) 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400
– Pressure (Pa) 1.03X 10-9 3.84X 10-3 6.74

Chemical Properties

Oxidation states 3, 2 [1]
Isotopes Isotope Mass Abundance Half-life Mode of decay
  168Yb 167.934 0.12
  170Yb 169.935 2.98
  171Yb 170.936 14.09
  172Yb 171.936 21.68
  173Yb 172.938 16.10
  174Yb 173.939 32.03
  176Yb 175.943 13.00 1026 y β-β-

Atomic Data of Ytterbium (Element 70)

Valence electrons 2 [8]
Quantum numbers
– n 4 [8]
– ℓ 3 [8]
– m 3 [8]
– ms -1/2 [8]
Electron configuration (noble gas configuration) [Xe] 4f146s2 [1]
Atomic structure
– Number of electrons 70 [5]
– Number of neutrons 104 [5]
– Number of protons 70 [5]
Radius of Atom
– Atomic radius 2.26 Å [1]
– Covalent radius 1.78 Å [1]
Electronegativity (Pauling-scale) Unknown [1]
Electron affinity -1.93 kJ mol-1 [1]
Ionization energy (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
  603.435 1174.805 2416.96 4202.9

Ytterbium Electron Configuration (Bohr Model)

Uses of Ytterbium

  • It can be added to alloys like stainless steel for improving its strength, grain refinement, and other mechanical properties [2, 5].
  • Its radioactive isotope 160Yb is used as a source of radiation in portable x-ray imaging equipment [5].
  • Ytterbium-doped fiber amplifiers in tunable lasers are used for marking and engraving [5].
  • Ytterbium compounds are now increasingly used as industrial catalysts in place of other catalysts that are considered to be hazardous and polluting [1, 5].
  • Since the electric resistance of ytterbium increases with increase in physical stress, it is used in strain gauges for seismic stress monitoring [5].

Ytterbium Doped Fiber Laser System

Possible Health Effects

Ytterbium is considered slightly toxic [1], and its compounds can cause skin and eye irritations. Metallic ytterbium dust catches fire spontaneously, and the fumes are harmful to human health [9].

Ytterbium Element

Interesting Facts

  • The element 70 is sometimes represented by an image based on ancient rock art found in Sweden [1], because the element was found in the same country.
  • Two atomic clocks, based on ytterbium, were combined by scientists at the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) in 2016 to create the most stable clock in the world [10].

Cost of Ytterbium

While 100 grams of pure ytterbium cost around  $1,400, the same amount of the element in bulk costs around  $550 [11].

References

  1. http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/70/ytterbium
  2. https://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele070.html
  3. https://www.livescience.com/38423-ytterbium.html
  4. https://www.webelements.com/ytterbium/isotopes.html
  5. https://www.chemicool.com/elements/ytterbium.html
  6. https://www.webelements.com/ytterbium/physics.html
  7. https://chemglobe.org/ptoe/_/70.php
  8. http://chemistry-reference.com/q_elements.asp?Symbol=Yb&language=en
  9. http://www.elementsdatabase.com/Ytterbium-Yb-70-element/
  10. https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2016/11/nist-debuts-dual-atomic-clock-and-new-stability-record
  11. https://hobart.k12.in.us/ksms/PeriodicTable/ytterbium.htm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending Topics