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This is yttrium.

Symbol Y
Atomic number 39
Atomic mass 88.9059 amu

Yttrium was discovered in 1828, in a new mineral, gadolinite, which was found near the Swedish town Ytterby.

Distinguishing properties

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.

See also

Periodic table of the elements