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|Atomic Number:||71||Atomic Symbol:||Lu|
|Atomic Weight:||174.96||Electron Configuration:||2-8-32-9-2|
|Melting Point:||1656oC||Boiling Point:||3315oC|
|Description:||Silvery rare earth metal.|
History(Lutetia, ancient name for Paris, sometimes called cassiopeium
by the Germans) In 1907, Urbain described a process by which Marignac's
ytterbium (1879) could be separated into the two elements, ytterbium
(neoytterbium) and lutetium. These elements were identical with "aldebaranium"
and "cassiopeium," independently discovered at this time. The spelling of the
element was changed from lutecium to lutetium in 1949.
OccurenceLutetium occurs in very small amounts in nearly all minerals
containing yttrium, and is present in monazite to the extent of about 0.003%,
which is a commercial source. The pure metal has been isolated only in recent
years and is one of the most difficult to prepare.
- It can be prepared by the reduction of anhydrous LuCl3 or LuF3 by an alkali
or alkaline earth metal.
- The metal is silvery white and relatively stable in air.
- While new techniques, including ion-exchange reactions, have been developed
to separate the various rare-earth elements, lutetium is still the most costly
of all rare earths.
- It is radioactive with a half-life of about 3 x 10^10 years.
CostsIt is priced at about $75/g. 176Lu occurs naturally (2.6%) with
- Stable lutetium nuclides, which emit pur beta radiation after thermal
neutron activation, can be used as catalysts in cracking, alkylation,
hydrogenation, and polymerization.
- Virtually no other commercial uses have been found yet for lutetium.
HandlingWhile lutetium, like other rare-earth metals, is thought to
have a low toxicity rating, it should be handled with care until more
information is available.