AskDefine | Define yttrium

The Collaborative Dictionary

Yttrium \Yt"tri*um\, n. [NL., from Ytterby, in Sweden. See Erbium.] (Chem.) A rare metallic element of the boron-aluminium group, found in gadolinite and other rare minerals, and extracted as a dark gray powder. Symbol Y. Atomic number
Atomic weight, 88.9. [Written also ittrium.] [1913 Webster +PJC] Note: Associated with yttrium are certain rare elements, as erbium, ytterbium, samarium, etc., which are separated in a pure state with great difficulty. They are studied by means of their spark or phosphorescent spectra. Yttrium is now regarded as probably not a simple element, but as a mixture of several substances. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

yttrium n : a silvery metallic element that is common in rare-earth minerals; used in magnesium and aluminum alloys [syn: Y, atomic number 39]
see Yttrium



From Ytterby, a town in Sweden.


  1. A metallic chemical element (symbol Y) with an atomic number of 39.


External links

For etymology and more information refer to: (A lot of the translations were taken from that site with permission from the author)

See also



  1. yttrium
Yttrium (), is a chemical element 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 phosphors in cathode ray tube displays, such as those used for televisions.

Notable characteristics

Yttrium is a silver-metallic, lustrous rare earth metal that is relatively stable in air, strongly resembles scandium in appearance, and chemically resembles the lanthanides, and can appear to gain a slight pink lustre on exposure to light. 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 neutron cross-section for nuclear capture. The common oxidation state of yttrium is +3.


Yttrium(III) oxide is the most important yttrium compound and is widely used to make YVO4:Eu and Y2O3:Eu phosphors that give the red color in color television picture tubes. Other uses:


Yttrium, in the form of its oxide "yttria", was the first "rare earth" to be discovered. It was found as a major component of the mineral that came to be known as "gadolinite", in 1794 by the Finnish/Swedish chemist, Johan Gadolin. Gadoliniite was a resinous heavy black mineral that had first been encountered at a feldspar quarry (pegmatite) in Ytterby, near Stockholm, Sweden, and was first collected there by a Lieutenant Arrhenius, in 1787. This quarry would gain everlasting fame by lending its name to no fewer than four elements of the periodic table; yttrium was the first. There was an early attempt to name the new "earth" "ytterbia", but the simplified name of "yttria" won out, although the "ytterbia" name would later be resurrected for the oxide of element #70. Although there were early suspicions that the new earth might not be homogeneous, that point was not definitely proven until Mosander's investigations, that were reported in the early 1840s. Mosander succeeded in preparing a white fraction (comprising the majority of the mixture) that retained the yttria name, and two smaller fractions that were also named for the Ytterby quarry: "terbia" and "erbia". These two fractions had to await the development of spectroscopic analysis to progress further towards their purified components. It is now known that yttrium is invariably accompanied geochemically by the heavy lanthanides (which as a result are often known as the "yttrium earths" or the "yttrium group"). Yttria is typically about two-thirds of the mixture by weight.


Due to the "lanthanide contraction", ytrrium, which is trivalent, is of similar ionic size to dysprosium (element #66), and its lanthanide neighbors. Due to the relatively gradual decrease in ionic size with increasing atomic number, the rare earth elements have always been notoriously difficult to separate. Even with eons of geological time, geochemical separation of the lanthanides has only rarely progressed much farther than a broad separation between light versus heavy lanthanides, otherwise known as the cerium and yttrium earths. This geochmical divide is reflected in the first two rare earths that were discovered, yttria in 1794 and ceria in 1803. As originally found, each comprised the entire mixture of the associated earths. Rare earth minerals, as found, usually are dominated by one group or the other, depending upon which size-range best fits the structural lattice. Thus, among the anhydrous rare earth phosphates, it is the tetragonal mineral xenotime that incorporates yttrium and the yttrium earths, whereas the monoclinic monazite phase incorporates cerium and the cerium earths preferentially. The smaller size of the yttrium group allows it a greater solid solubility in the rock-forming minerals that comprise the earth's mantle, and thus yttrium and the yttrium earths show less enrichment in the earth's crust, relative to chondritic abundance, than does cerium and the cerium earths. This has economic consequences: large orebodies of the cerium earths are known around the world, and are being actively exploited. Corresponding orebodies for yttrium tend to be rarer, smaller, and less concentrated. Most of the current supply of yttrium originates in the "ion adsorption clay" ores of Southern China. Some versions of these provide concentrates containing about 65% yttrium oxide, with the heavy lanthanides being present in ratios reflecting the Oddo-Harkins rule: even-numbered heavy lanthanides at abundances of about 5% each, and odd-numbered lanthanides at abundances of about 1% each. Similar compositions are found in xenotime or gadolinite. Well-known minerals that contain yttrium include gadolinite, xenotime, samarskite, euxenite, fergusonite, yttrotantalite, yttrotungstite, yttrofluorite (a variety of fluorite), thalenite, yttrialite. Small amounts occur in zircon, which derives its typical yellow fluorescence from some of the accompanying heavy lanthanides. The zirconium mineral eudialyte, such as is found in southern Greenland, also contains small but potentially useful amounts of yttrium. Of the above yttrium minerals, most played a part in providing research quantities of lanthanides during the discovery days. Xenotime is occasionally recovered as a byproduct of heavy sand processing, but has never been nearly as abundsnt as the similarly recovered monazite (which typically contains a few percent of yttrium). Uranium ores processed in Ontario have occasionally yielded yttrium as a byproduct.


Compounds that contain this element are rarely encountered by most people but should be considered to be toxic even though many compounds pose little risk. Yttrium salts may be carcinogenic. This element is not normally found in human tissue and plays no known biological role.
yttrium in Afrikaans: Yttrium
yttrium in Arabic: إتريوم
yttrium in Azerbaijani: İttrium
yttrium in Bengali: ইট্রিয়াম
yttrium in Belarusian: Ітрый
yttrium in Bosnian: Itrijum
yttrium in Catalan: Itri
yttrium in Czech: Yttrium
yttrium in Corsican: Ittriu
yttrium in Welsh: Ytriwm
yttrium in Danish: Yttrium
yttrium in German: Yttrium
yttrium in Estonian: Ütrium
yttrium in Modern Greek (1453-): Ύτριο
yttrium in Spanish: Itrio
yttrium in Esperanto: Itrio
yttrium in Basque: Itrio
yttrium in Persian: ایتریوم
yttrium in French: Yttrium
yttrium in Friulian: Itri
yttrium in Manx: Yttrium
yttrium in Galician: Itrio
yttrium in Korean: 이트륨
yttrium in Armenian: Իտրիում
yttrium in Hindi: इत्रियम
yttrium in Croatian: Itrij
yttrium in Ido: Yitrio
yttrium in Indonesian: Itrium
yttrium in Icelandic: Yttrín
yttrium in Italian: Ittrio
yttrium in Hebrew: איטריום
yttrium in Javanese: Itrium
yttrium in Kannada: ಯ್ಟ್ರಿಯಮ್
yttrium in Swahili (macrolanguage): Ytri
yttrium in Kurdish: Îtriyûm
yttrium in Latin: Yttrium
yttrium in Latvian: Itrijs
yttrium in Luxembourgish: Yttrium
yttrium in Lithuanian: Itris
yttrium in Lojban: jinmrtitri
yttrium in Hungarian: Ittrium
yttrium in Malayalam: യിട്രിയം
yttrium in Dutch: Yttrium
yttrium in Japanese: イットリウム
yttrium in Norwegian: Yttrium
yttrium in Norwegian Nynorsk: Yttrium
yttrium in Occitan (post 1500): Itri
yttrium in Uzbek: Ittriy
yttrium in Polish: Itr
yttrium in Portuguese: Ítrio
yttrium in Romanian: Ytriu
yttrium in Quechua: Itriyu
yttrium in Russian: Иттрий
yttrium in Albanian: Yttriumi
yttrium in Sicilian: Ittriu
yttrium in Simple English: Yttrium
yttrium in Slovak: Ytrium
yttrium in Slovenian: Itrij
yttrium in Serbian: Итријум
yttrium in Serbo-Croatian: Itrijum
yttrium in Finnish: Yttrium
yttrium in Swedish: Yttrium
yttrium in Tamil: யிற்றியம்
yttrium in Thai: อิตเทรียม
yttrium in Vietnamese: Yttri
yttrium in Turkish: İtriyum
yttrium in Ukrainian: Ітрій
yttrium in Chinese: 钇
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