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|Atomic Number:||68||Atomic Symbol:||Er|
|Atomic Weight:||167.26||Electron Configuration:||2-8-30-8-2|
|Melting Point:||1522oC||Boiling Point:||2510oC|
|Description:||Grayish-silver rare earth metal.|
History(Ytterby, a town in Sweden)
- Erbium, one of the so-called rare-earth elements on the lanthanide series,
is found in the minerals mentioned under dysprosium.
- In 1842 Mosander separated "yttria" found in the mineral gadolinite, into
three fractions which he called yttria, erbia, and terbia.
- The names erbia and terbia became confused in this early period.
- After 1860, Mosander's terbia was known as erbia, and after 1877, the
earlier known erbia became terbia.
- The erbia of this period was later shown to consist of five oxides, now
known as erbia, scandia, holmia, thulia and ytterbia.
- By 1905 Urbain and James independently succeeded in isolating fairly pure
- Klemm and Bommer first produced reasonably pure erbium metal in 1934 by
reducing the anhydrous chloride with potassium vapor.
- The pure metal is soft and malleable and has a bright, silvery, metallic
- As with other rare-earth metals, its properties depend to a certain extent
on the impurities present.
- The metal is fairly stable in air and does not oxidize as rapidly as some of
the other rare-earth metals.
- Naturally occurring erbium is a mixture of six isotopes, all of which are
- Nine radioactive isotopes of erbium are also recognized.
CostsRecent production techniques, using ion-exchange reactions, have
resulted in much lower prices of the rare-earch metals and their compounds in
recent years. The cost of 99+% erbium metal is about $650/kg.
- Erbium is finding nuclear and metallurgical uses.
- Added to vanadium, for example, erbium lowers the hardness and improves
workability. Most of the rare-earth oxides have sharp absorption bands in the
visible, ultraviolet, and near infrared.
- This proerty, associated with the electronic structure, gives beautiful
pastel colors to many of the rare-earth salts.
- Erbium oxide gives a pink color and has been used as a colorant in glasses
and porcelain enamel glazes.