All About Yttrium

It is a chemical element having symbol Y and its atomic number is 39. It is silver metallic element and it is a rare earth element. It is included under a group of lanthanides. Its only isotope Y 89 is naturally occurring. It was discovered by the Swedish scientist named Carl Axel Arrhenius. It is mostly used in making the phosphors which are used in the cathode ray tube found in the television. It is also used in the other modalities like producing electrodes, electrolytes, lasers, and superconductors. It has also been found to be useful in medical field.

Yttrium is soft, lustrous; silver colored and is highly crystalline. It is present in the fifth period in the periodic table and is the first d block element of the fifth period. Yttrium is stable when present in the air temperature, though when finely divided it emits flames and it ignites at temperature exceeding 400 degree Celsius. In stable form it reacts with the oxygen and form a protective covering of yttrium oxide.

It never occurs in the nature in the free form and is found along with the uranium.

The commonest use of Yttrium is oxide yttria having formula Y2O3. It is used in making red phosphorus which is used in making color television picture tubes. Is used as a component of various alloys of aluminum and magnesium. By adding it in the alloys it increases the strength of these alloys. It is also added to cast iron to increase its durability.  Its alloy with chromium has a property of heat resistance contrary to the property of metals which generally are good conductors of heat. Its oxide is used in glasses because of its property of heat and shock resistance and it is also used in the camera lenses. It is also used in making superconductors. Superconductors are the ones which conduct electricity without loss of energy.

Yttrium is generally found in house hold equipments like the televisions, lamps, glasses. As it is rarely found in the free form, it is found in two different types of ores. Since it is used as a catalyst and used to polish the glasses, its use is increasing day by day. It proves dangerous in the working environment as it can be inhaled and cause different health issues. It can cause lung embolisms, when the exposure to the gases is for a long time. It can also lead to the development of cancer of lungs as it is inhaled for a long time. When it accumulates in the body, it can lead to complications related to the liver.

Yttrium can enter the environment by dumping from the industries and by throwing away electronic devices. It gradually saturates in the soil and then mixes with the soils which will lead to its increase in concentration in the humans, animals and soil particles. When entered the water it can cause problems to the aquatic animals causing damage to cell membranes and to the nervous and reproductive systems.

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