|Atomic mass||88.9059 amu|
Yttrium was discovered in 1828, in a new mineral, gadolinite, which was found near the Swedish town Ytterby.
Yttrium is a silvery, ductile metal. As a powder, yttrium burns easily. It is moderately light-weight and is considered as a rare-earth element.
Today, commercial-grade yttrium is obtained from monazite sand, a mixture of phosphates of thorium, cerium, and most of the other rare-earths. Separation of yttrium is achieved by an ion exchange process.
The major use of the metal includes its use:
- as an additive or alloying ingredient with a number of other metals. Additions of small amount of yttrium increases resistance to oxidation at high temperatures.
- in today's colour television tubes. Yttrium oxide is used with europium in phosphors for the brilliant red colour in television tubes.
- in yttrium-iron garnets for microwave filters.
- in yttrium-aluminum garnets used in the electronics industry.
- as gemstones.
- as a catalyst.