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Ytterbium-Discovery, Properties, And Applications

October 19, 2023
written by Adeel Abbas

Ytterbium is a chemical element with the symbol Yb and atomic number 70. It is a rare earth metal and a member of the lanthanide series. Ytterbium is a soft, silvery-white metal that is relatively stable in air. It is one of the least abundant lanthanides, with an abundance in the Earth’s crust estimated to be about 3 parts per million.

image of ytterbium element
PropertyValue
NameYtterbium
SymbolYb
Atomic number70
Relative atomic mass (Ar)Period in the periodic table
Standard stateSolid at 298 K
AppearanceSilvery white
ClassificationMetallic
The group in the periodic table
Group nameLanthanoid
Block in the periodic table6 (lanthanoid)
Block in periodic tablef
Shell structure2.8.18.32.8.2
CAS Registry7440-64-4

Discovery

Ytterbium was discovered by Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac in 1878. He discovered the element in the mineral gadolinite, which had been previously discovered in a quarry near the town of Ytterby in Sweden.

Physical Properties

Ytterbium is a soft, silvery-white metal that is relatively stable in air. It is both ductile and malleable and has a melting point of 824°C and a boiling point of 1466°C. It has a density of 6.90 g/cm³.

Chemical Properties

Ytterbium is a reactive element that slowly reacts with water and is soluble in acids. It is a strong reducing agent and has two stable oxidation states, +2 and +3.

Electronic Configuration of Ytterbium

Ytterbium (Yb) with 70 electrons has the electron configuration 1s²2s²2p⁶3s²3p⁶4s²3d¹⁰4p⁶4d¹⁰4f¹⁴6s². In short form, it’s written as [Xe]4f¹⁴6s², showing a xenon with a filled 4f subshell and two valence electrons in the 6s subshell.

Electronic Configuration of Ytterbium via Bohr Model

Image showing Electronic Configuration of Ytterbium via Bohr Model
Ytterbium is a chemical element with the symbol Yb and atomic number 70. It is a rare earth metal and a member of the lanthanide series. Ytterbium is a soft, silvery-white metal that is relatively stable in air. It is one of the least abundant lanthanides, with an abundance in the Earth's crust estimated to be about 3 parts per million.

Electronic Configuration of Ytterbium via Aufbau Principle

Image showing Electronic Configuration of Ytterbium via Aufbau Principle
Ytterbium is a chemical element with the symbol Yb and atomic number 70. It is a rare earth metal and a member of the lanthanide series. Ytterbium is a soft, silvery-white metal that is relatively stable in air. It is one of the least abundant lanthanides, with an abundance in the Earth's crust estimated to be about 3 parts per million.

Facts

  • Ytterbium is used in atomic clocks, which are the most accurate timekeepers available today.
  • It is also used in some stainless steel and as a radiation source in portable X-ray machines.
  • Ytterbium has the highest known neutron capture cross-section of any isotope.

Applications

  • Ytterbium is used in atomic clocks, where it provides the reference signal that keeps the clock accurate.
  • It is also used in the production of stainless steel and in the nuclear industry.
  • Ytterbium has potential uses in cancer treatment and as a radiation source for portable X-ray machines.

Ytterbium is a rare earth metal that is relatively stable in air and has a number of important applications. Its use in atomic clocks is particularly significant, as these clocks are used in a wide range of applications, from GPS systems to telecommunications networks. With its unique properties and potential uses, ytterbium is likely to continue to be an important element in the future.