Scandium

2.99
44.956
[Ar] 3d14s2
45Sc
3
4
d
21
2, 8, 9, 2
633.088
Sc
2.99
1541°C, 2806°F, 1814 K
2836°C, 5137°F, 3109 K
Lars Frederik Nilson
1879
7440-20-2
22392
More Information
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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

The inclusion of Scandium in baseball bats has unquestionably transformed the game. These bats have given players, particularly at the youth and amateur levels, the opportunity to harness the benefits of lightweight, strong, and resilient materials. With the ability to increase bat speed, reduce vibration, and enhance distance, Scandium-enhanced bats provide a competitive edge.

Appearance

A silvery metal that tarnishes in air, burns easily and reacts with water.

Uses









Shining a Spotlight on Scandium: Versatile Uses in Modern Technology


Scandium, symbolized as Sc on the periodic table, is a remarkable but lesser-known element that has been making a significant impact on modern technology. Despite its scarcity in nature, scandium's unique properties make it a sought-after element in various industries. In this article, we will delve into the diverse and fascinating uses of scandium, shedding light on how this element contributes to innovation in the 21st century.

Scandium: A Rare and Light Metal


Scandium is a transition metal, and while it is not particularly abundant in the Earth's crust, it can be found in various minerals, such as thortveitite and euxenite. Scandium is known for several key properties that make it valuable for a range of applications:

  1. Lightweight: Scandium is remarkably lightweight, even lighter than aluminum. This property makes it ideal for industries where weight reduction is essential, such as aerospace.

  2. High Melting Point: Scandium has a high melting point, ensuring its stability at elevated temperatures. This property is crucial for applications in high-temperature environments.

  3. Strength: Despite its low density, scandium is incredibly strong. It provides structural integrity and durability to materials in which it is incorporated.


 

Now, let's explore the diverse applications of scandium in various fields.

 

Aerospace and Aviation


One of the most prominent applications of scandium can be found in the aerospace and aviation industry. Scandium's combination of low weight and high strength is a game-changer for aircraft design.

 

Scandium-Aluminum Alloys: Scandium is often alloyed with aluminum to create high-performance materials used in aerospace components. Scandium-aluminum alloys offer a remarkable balance between strength and weight, contributing to the development of lighter and more fuel-efficient aircraft.

Lightweight Airframes: The addition of scandium to aluminum significantly reduces the weight of airframes, resulting in more efficient and eco-friendly aircraft. This is of paramount importance in an industry where fuel efficiency is a top priority.

Sporting Goods


Scandium's lightweight and durable properties have also found their way into the world of sporting goods, particularly in the production of high-performance equipment.

 

Scandium-Alloy Bicycles: Scandium is used in the manufacturing of bicycle frames, enhancing the overall strength of the frame while keeping it incredibly light. This allows cyclists to achieve greater speed and performance.

Scandium-Alloy Baseball Bats: We have previously discussed the use of scandium in baseball bats, where it offers increased bat speed, reduced vibration, and improved distance. Scandium-enhanced bats are a favorite among players looking for a competitive edge.

 

LED Lighting


Scandium has a surprising application in the field of lighting, particularly in the development of high-efficiency LED lighting.

 

Scandium-Doped LEDs: Scandium is used as a dopant in LED phosphors. When scandium ions are incorporated into the phosphor material, it enhances the efficiency of LED lighting, resulting in brighter and more energy-efficient illumination.

 

Nuclear Reactors

In nuclear technology, scandium plays a vital role, particularly in the development of advanced nuclear reactors.

 

Scandium as a Neutron Absorber: Scandium is used as a neutron absorber in nuclear reactors, aiding in the control of nuclear fission reactions. Its ability to absorb neutrons allows for more precise control of the reactor's power output.

Scandium Alloys in Nuclear Cladding: Scandium-alloyed materials are used in the cladding of nuclear fuel rods. These materials can withstand high temperatures and radiation, ensuring the integrity and safety of nuclear reactors.

 

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs)


Solid oxide fuel cells are a promising technology for clean energy production, and scandium has an essential role to play in their development.

 

Scandium-Stabilized Zirconia: Scandium is used to stabilize zirconia, a key component in the fabrication of solid oxide fuel cells. Scandium-stabilized zirconia enhances the performance and durability of SOFCs, allowing for more efficient conversion of fuel to electricity.

Medical Imaging

Scandium's unique properties also make it useful in the field of medical imaging, where precision and sensitivity are critical.

Scandium-Containing X-ray Tubes: Scandium is utilized in the construction of high-performance X-ray tubes used in medical imaging equipment. Scandium-enhanced tubes provide sharper and more accurate X-ray images.

 

Concluding Remarks


Scandium, despite its limited availability in nature, has managed to carve out a significant niche in various high-tech industries. Its remarkable properties, including low weight, high strength, and high-temperature stability, have made it an attractive choice for applications ranging from aerospace and sports equipment to nuclear reactors and medical imaging.

As technology continues to advance, the demand for scandium is expected to rise, leading to increased exploration and extraction efforts. This versatile element serves as a reminder of the vital role that lesser-known elements can play in shaping the future of technology and innovation. Scandium's journey from obscurity to prominence is a testament to the enduring quest for materials that can push the boundaries of what is possible in our increasingly high-tech world.








History

Scandium, symbolized as Sc on the periodic table, is a remarkable but relatively obscure element with a history as fascinating as its properties. Despite being a relatively rare element in the Earth's crust, Scandium has found its way into various industries, thanks to its unique qualities. In this article, we will embark on a historical journey to discover the captivating story of Scandium, from its discovery to its diverse uses in the modern world.

 

The Early Years: Scandium's Discovery


The history of Scandium began in the late 19th century when the scientific community was in the midst of a passionate race to uncover new elements. In 1879, Lars Fredrik Nilson, a Swedish chemist, became the first person to identify Scandium. Nilson was conducting experiments on the rare earth elements and their compounds when he stumbled upon an unusual oxide of Scandium. He isolated this element and named it "Scandium" after Scandinavia, his native region.

Scandium proved to be a challenging element to isolate and purify due to its scarcity in nature and its tendency to occur alongside other rare earth elements. It wasn't until a few years later that Nilson and the Norwegian chemist Per Teodor Cleve, working independently, succeeded in confirming the existence of Scandium as a new element.

 

Isolation and Identification


Nilson and Cleve's efforts led to the identification of Scandium in two distinct sources: yttrium ores from Sweden and gadolinite minerals from Norway. However, obtaining pure Scandium was still a formidable challenge due to its low abundance.

In 1937, Italian chemist Carlo Perrier and French chemist Emilio Segrè managed to isolate Scandium by bombarding a target of stable calcium with deuterons, heavy hydrogen nuclei. The resulting reaction produced the first significant amounts of Scandium. This breakthrough made further research and experimentation with Scandium possible.

 

Applications in Aerospace and Technology


While Scandium's history as a recognized element dates back over a century, its practical applications in the modern world have been more recent. Here are some key applications of Scandium in various fields:

 

Aerospace Industry


Scandium's remarkable properties, including its low weight and high strength, have made it a valuable addition to aerospace technology. Scandium-aluminum alloys, such as Scandium-aluminum-magnesium (Sc-Al-Mg) alloys, are used in the construction of aircraft components. These alloys are prized for their exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, allowing for the development of lightweight, fuel-efficient aircraft.

 

Sports Equipment


The sports equipment industry has also embraced Scandium due to its advantageous properties. Scandium alloys are utilized in the production of high-performance equipment, such as baseball bats and bicycle frames. Scandium-enhanced baseball bats are known for their increased bat speed, reduced vibration, and improved performance. Similarly, Scandium-alloyed bicycle frames offer cyclists a lightweight, yet incredibly durable option.

 

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs)


Scandium-stabilized zirconia (ScSZ) is a critical component in solid oxide fuel cells. Scandium's inclusion in zirconia stabilizes its structure, improving the performance and longevity of SOFCs. These fuel cells are employed in clean energy technologies, converting fuel directly into electricity with high efficiency.

 

Nuclear Reactors


Scandium is used as a neutron absorber in nuclear reactors. By absorbing neutrons, Scandium helps regulate nuclear fission reactions, ensuring precise control of a reactor's power output. Scandium alloys are also used in the cladding of nuclear fuel rods, providing materials capable of withstanding high temperatures and radiation.

 

Lighting


Scandium is a dopant in the production of high-efficiency LED lighting. Scandium ions are incorporated into LED phosphors, enhancing the efficiency of LED illumination. This results in brighter, more energy-efficient lighting options, which have a wide range of applications from household lighting to large-scale displays.

 

Medical Imaging


Scandium-containing X-ray tubes are used in medical imaging equipment to provide sharp and accurate X-ray images. Scandium enhances the performance of these X-ray tubes, contributing to more precise and sensitive medical diagnostics.

 

The journey of Scandium, from its discovery by Nilson and Cleve to its varied and innovative applications in the modern world, is a testament to human curiosity and scientific exploration. This relatively rare element, with its unique properties, has made a significant impact in aerospace, sports, clean energy, nuclear technology, lighting, and medical diagnostics.

As technology continues to advance, and the demand for lightweight and high-performance materials grows, the role of Scandium in shaping our world is likely to expand. Scandium's history is a compelling narrative of discovery, ingenuity, and the enduring quest for materials that push the boundaries of what is possible. As the applications of Scandium continue to evolve, this element serves as a reminder of the immense potential hidden within the periodic table and the role of science in unlocking its secrets.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 2.15
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): 18.139
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.59
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 1.36
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
633.088 1234.99 2388.655 7090.65 8842.88 10679 13315 15254.3

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 3
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
45Sc 44.956 100 - -

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: 568
Shear Modulus: 29.1
Young Modulus: 74.4
Bulk Modulus: 56.6
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
- - - 6.31 x 10-8 0.000129 0.03 1.8 43.6 91.3 - 56.6

Podcast

Transcript :



Scandium, a chemical element having the symbol Sc. In the periodic table, it occupies the 21st atomic position as a member of the d-block of the transition metals family. It is an expensive metal. It is not traded on formal exchanges. Rather, it is traded between private parties. It is difficult to estimate the market for Scandium worldwide. It is a complex mineral composed of eight metal oxides. It has been investigated for the possibility of catalyzing several chemical processes. It is a so-called amphoteric element, which means it may behave either as a basic or an acid.

The element has one naturally occurring isotope, Scandium 45. In addition, there are radioactive isotopes of the element. These are produced by bombarding atoms with small particles. They break apart to give off radiation. Known to materials engineers in high-end sporting goods and aerospace, Scandium can be added to alloys to make them stronger and lighter. In fact, it has the potential to swell the global aluminum market by a factor of 25 to 70.

The element was discovered by Swedish chemist Lars Fredrick Nilson in 1879. He was studying rare earth elements. After studying the spectral analysis of minerals, he found a new element.

Scandium was named after the Latin word "Scanda", which means Scandinavia. The name originated from the Scandinavian’s Peninsula, which is the location where the mineral was found for the first time. During his research, Nilson found that Scandium was similar to the mineral ekaboron, which was predicted by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.

Although Nilson's discovery was significant, it was not until four years later that a metallic form of Scandium was first produced. This occurred by electrolysis of lithium, potassium, and Scandium chlorides. The metal was produced at temperatures of 700 to 800 degrees Celsius. In the 1970s, the Soviet military developed a series of alloys containing Scandium. These Scandium-aluminum alloys had improved strength.

Scandium is found in very small amounts in nature, and in trace quantities in the Earth's crust. Scandium is a rare metallic element, known for its high strength and softness. It is also produced from uranium ore. It is detected in traces in a diverse range of minerals. It is often found in tin ores, and it is also present in heavy lanthanide ores. It has been identified in over 800 different minerals. Consequently, its occurrence and production are both extremely rare. The main source of Scandium is a by-product of uranium mining. Currently, the principal producing countries are China, Russia and Malaysia. Nevertheless, USA is among the top reserve holder together with China. The amount of Scandium produced is not disclosed. In the US, it is usually obtained from mining activities of other elements.

Scandium is a metal with similar physical and chemical properties to boron and Aluminum. It is metallic that is white with a silvery sheen. Although it has a greater melting point than Aluminum and, it is lighter than steel. When it is left out in the open air, it will quickly tarnish and develop a yellowish tint. In its solid form, Scandium displays a hexagonal lattice that is closely packed. In the gaseous state, it has a negative thermal expansion. This property is useful for materials that do not change with temperature. The Scandium isotopes range in atomic weight from 40 u to 54 u. Each isotope has its own oxidation state. Unlike other rare earth elements, Dcandium does not react with oxygen. The density of Scandium is about three times than water. It dissolves in a variety of acids. For example, it forms an aqua-Scandium ion when it is dissolved in hydrochloric acid. It is a good conductor of electricity. In its gaseous state, it oxidizes easily in air, and it reacts with water to produce hydrogen gas. Although it is not toxic, it is dangerous to work with.

There are only a few commercial uses of scandium. Its use is limited because of its rarity. The aerospace industry is one of them. The automotive industry could also be an early adopter. It is used in many applications, including color televisions, fluorescent lights, and energy-saving light sources. It has also found applications in sports equipment, rockets, and space shuttles. It can be used as a filler in aluminum alloys to improve their performance. It is also a barrier metal in silicon photocells. It is used in glass polishing and in the manufacture of catalyzers. It is mainly used for its strength in alloys. Some applications include the manufacturing of alloys, glasses, and television sets. Among its many uses, it is a component of solid oxide fuel cells. It is also used to make metal halide lamps. Scandium alloys are made from various components, including titanium, zirconium, magnesium, manganese, and silicon. These alloys are resistant to corrosion and have excellent strength. They can be used in sports equipment, such as baseball bats, bicycle frames, and bicycle wheels. They are also used in metal 3D printing.

In 2003, Zaki Ahmad published a study that discusses the application of Scandium-reinforced aluminum. The research investigated the potential commercialization of an Aluminum-Scandium master alloy. Scandium is used in high-performance switches in computers and lasers. It's also a key component of mercurial vapor lamps, which mimic natural sunlight in output. It has excellent heat stabilization and electrical conductivity qualities. Moreover, it is used to produce fluorescent lamps and mercury vapor lamps. Scandium iodide is added to mercury lamps to produce light.

Also, it is an important component in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. In addition, Scandium is used in the production of metallurgy, and metal polishing. In the future, it may be utilized in fuel cells.

References


  • W. M. Haynes, ed., CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, CRC Press/Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL, 95th Edition, Internet Version 2015, accessed December 2014.

  • Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants, Kaye & Laby Online, 16th edition, 1995. Version 1.0 (2005), accessed December 2014.

  • J. S. Coursey, D. J. Schwab, J. J. Tsai, and R. A. Dragoset, Atomic Weights and Isotopic Compositions (version 4.1), 2015, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, accessed November 2016.

  • T. L. Cottrell, The Strengths of Chemical Bonds, Butterworth, London, 1954.

  • John Emsley, Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, Oxford University Press, New York, 2nd Edition, 2011.

  • Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility - Office of Science Education, It’s Elemental - The Periodic Table of Elements, accessed December 2014.