[Xe] 4f126s2
2, 8, 18, 30, 8, 2
1529°C, 2784°F, 1802 K
2868°C, 5194°F, 3141 K
Carl Gustav Mosander
More Information
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Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 2.29
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): Unknown
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.77
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 1.24
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
589.304 1151.07 2194.08 4119.9 - - - -

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 1
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
162Er 161.929 0.139 - -
164Er 163.929 1.601 - -
166Er 165.930 33.503 - -
167Er 166.932 22.869 - -
168Er 167.932 26.978 - -
170Er 169.935 14.91 - -

Supply Risk

Relative Supply Risk: 9.5
Crustal Abundance (ppm): 0.3
Recycle Rate (%): <10
Production Conc.(%) : 97
Top 3 Producers:
1) China
2) Russia
3) Malaysia
Top 3 Reserve Holders:
1) China
2) CIS Countries (inc. Russia)
3) USA
Substitutability: High
Political Stability of Top Producer: 24.1
Political Stability of Top Reserve Holder: 24.1

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: 168
Shear Modulus: 28.3
Young Modulus: 69.9
Bulk Modulus: 44.4
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
- - 3.90 x 10-10 4.30 x 10-6 0.00205 0.163 4.23 52.5 - - 44.4



Welcome to another exciting episode of "Talking About Elements," the podcast that explores the fascinating world of elements and their impact on our lives. Today, we're diving deep into the realm of Erbium, a rare and remarkable element that has captured the imagination of scientists and engineers alike. Join me as we uncover the history, properties, occurrence, production, and a myriad of applications of Erbium.

Erbium, with the symbol Er and atomic number 68, is a relatively obscure element, but its history is rich and intriguing. It was first discovered in 1843 by the Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander. Mosander was no stranger to groundbreaking discoveries, having previously isolated other rare earth elements such as lanthanum and terbium.

Erbium derives its name from the small village of Ytterby in Sweden, which seems to have a knack for producing elements with tongue-twisting names. Ytterby is also associated with the discovery of yttrium, terbium, and ytterbium. Mosander's work laid the foundation for the systematic study of rare earth elements, including Erbium.

Erbium possesses some intriguing properties that make it stand out, such as, Colorful Character. One of the most striking features of Erbium is its vibrant pink color. This unique property is the result of its absorption and emission of specific wavelengths of light, primarily in the red and green regions of the spectrum.

Erbium is known for its strong magnetic properties. In fact, it can become ferromagnetic at extremely low temperatures, making it useful in various magnetic applications.

While Erbium itself is not radioactive, it can be found in small quantities in the decay products of some radioactive materials, adding to its scarcity and difficulty in isolation.

Erbium, like its fellow rare earth elements, is not abundant in nature. It is typically found in minerals such as monazite, bastnäsite, and xenotime. These minerals are primarily sourced from countries like China, the United States, and Australia.

The extraction process for Erbium is a complex one. It involves several steps, including acid leaching, solvent extraction, and precipitation. Once separated from other rare earth elements, Erbium can be further purified to meet the stringent requirements for various applications.

Erbium might be rare, but its applications are diverse and far-reaching.

Fiber Optic Communication. Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) play a crucial role in modern telecommunications. By introducing Erbium ions into optical fibers, they can amplify signals, enabling long-distance communication without the need for frequent signal regeneration.

Laser Technology. Erbium-doped lasers are used in various applications, including medical and dental procedures. These lasers operate in the infrared range and are highly effective for tissue ablation and dental treatments.

Color TV Tubes. In the past, Erbium was used in color television tubes to produce red phosphors. While this application has become less common due to advances in display technology, it was a significant use of the element in the mid-20th century.

Nuclear Control Rods. Erbium is sometimes used in control rods for nuclear reactors due to its exceptional ability to absorb neutrons, helping regulate the nuclear fission process.

Photoluminescent Materials. Erbium compounds are used in the production of photoluminescent materials, which find applications in security ink, anti-counterfeiting measures, and even glowing watch hands and dials.

Metallurgy. Erbium is utilized in metallurgy to improve the properties of certain alloys, such as vanadium-erbium and molybdenum-erbium alloys, enhancing their strength and resistance to high temperatures.

As we wrap up our exploration of Erbium, it's clear that this unassuming element has had a significant impact on various industries, from telecommunications to metallurgy. Its unique properties and applications continue to make it a valuable asset in technological advancements.

Looking ahead, research into Erbium's potential applications in quantum computing, nanotechnology, and renewable energy is ongoing. Its magnetic properties and ability to absorb and emit light at specific wavelengths make it a promising candidate for cutting-edge technologies that could shape our future.

Erbium reminds us that even the rarest elements can play a vital role in shaping the world as we know it. So, the next time you pick up your smartphone, consider the role Erbium might be playing in keeping you connected to the world.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through the world of Erbium. Stay tuned for more episodes of "Talking About Elements," where we'll continue to explore the remarkable elements that shape our world. Until next time, keep exploring and stay curious!