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Rare, metallic element discovered in 1794 by Finnish chemist Johann Gadolin and named for the town of Ytterby, Sweden. Yttrium is found in minerals such as gadolinite, yttrialite, xenotime, and fergusonite. It is a silver-gray metal composed of hexagonal close-packed crystals that darken when exposed to light. Metallic yttrium is used in nuclear technology and as a coating on high-temperature alloys. Yttrium oxide is used as a chromatically true red phosphor in color television tubes. Yttrium salts are used in high-purity semiconductors and to produce permanent magnets. Synthetic yttrium iron garnets (YIG) and yttrium aluminum garnets (YAG) are used as microwave bandpass filters in communication networks. Single-crystal YAGs are also used in lasers and for making artificial diamonds.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Y; ittrio (It.); Itrio (Port.); ytrio (Esp.); yttrium iron garnet (YIG); yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG);

Other Properties

Soluble in dilute acids and potassium hydroxide solution. Decomposes in water.

Composition Y (atomic no. 39)
CAS 7440-65-5
Melting Point 1522
Density 4.4689
Molecular Weight atomic wt =88.90585
Boiling Point 3338

Hazards and Safety

Sensitive to light, air, and moisture. Contact may cause irritation. Powder is flammable.

Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Additional Information

Web Elements: Website


Natural and Simulated Diamonds

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 178
  • Chemical & Engineering News, American Chemical Society, Washington DC, 81 (36) , Sept. 8, 2003 Comment: Pual. C. W. Chu, page 102

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