Ytterbium Research Paper

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The discovery of Ytterbium occurred over the course of a century. It begun with the mineral gadolinite which was discovered in a quarry near the town of Ytterby, Sweden. In 1843, Carl Gustaf Mosander, was able to separate gadolinite into three materials, which he named yttria, erbia and terbia (Emsley). Due to the similarities between their names and properties, scientists confused erbia and terbia and had eventually reversed their names. In 1878, Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac, a Swiss chemist, discovered that erbia consisted of two components (Emsley). Marignac named one ytterbia and the other kept the name erbia. He believed that ytterbia was a compound of a new element, which he named ytterbium. Other chemists experimented with ytterbium…show more content…
With atomic number 70, ytterbium can be located within the transition elements of the periodic table. At room temperature, ytterbium is a solid. It has three allotropes labeled by the Greek letters alpha, beta and gamma. The alpha allotrope has a hexagonal crystalline structure and is stable at low temperatures. The beta allotrope exists at room temperature, with a face-centered cubic crystal structure. The gamma allotrope has a body-centered cubic crystalline structure and is stable at high temperatures. With a melting point of 824 °C and a boiling point of 1196 °C, ytterbium has the smallest liquid range of all the metals. The thermal conductivity of ytterbium is 34.9 J/m-sec-deg, its electrical conductivity is 35.7 1/mohm-cm, and its density is 6.973 g/cm3 (Emsley). This rare earth element is ductile because it has the ability to deform under tension. It is also malleable because it is able to be permanently pressed out of shape without cracking. Ytterbium has a Vickers Hardness of 0.206 gigapascals and a Brinell Hardness of 0.343 gigapascals…show more content…
Under very high physical stress, ytterbium’s electrical resistance increases, making it useful in stress gauges to monitor ground deformations caused by earthquakes or underground explosions. A small amount of ytterbium is used as an alloy to improve grain refinement and strength to stainless steel, glass or ceramics. It is added to cables to create amplifiers in telecommunications or can be used in making lasers for remote sensing applications. Compounds are also used as catalysts in the organic chemical industry (Stewart). Ytterbium can be used to convert invisible infrared light into green or red light, which can be used in anti-forgery security inks and in bank notes. Ytterbium compounds absorb and give out light in the near infrared which can be used for examining biological tissue and solar cells (Stewart). An isotope of ytterbium, ytterbium- 169, is used in the medical field as a radiation source substitute for a portable X-ray machine where electricity is unavailable (Emsley). This isotope is also used as an alternative for Iodine-125 and Palladium-103 in the treatment of prostate cancer and for diagnostics in the gastrointestinal tract

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