Symbol: Y
Atomic Number: 39
Atomic Weight: 88.9059
Boiling Point: 3611 K
Melting Point: 1795 K
Density at 300K: 4.47 g/cm3
Covalent radius: 1.62
Atomic radius: 2.27
Atomic volume: 19.80 cm3/mol
First ionization potental: 6.38 V
Specific heat capacity: 0.30 J g-1 K-1
Thermal conductivity: 17.2 W m-1 K-1
Electrical conductivity: 1.8 106 Ω-1 m-1
Heat of fusion: 17.15 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization: 393.3 kJ/mol
Electronegativity: 1.22 (Pauling's)

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To the Periodic Table

Look, before I even start talking about yttrium, let's cut the crap. I know all you want is the 'down and dirty.' The really juicy stories and inside information about yttrium. You don't care that yttrium's symbol is "Y", its atomic number is 39, and that its atomic weight is 88.90589. You don't give a rat's ass that its density is 4.47 g/cm3 (at 293 K) or that its molar volume (atomic volume) is 19.8 cm3/mol. You want to know all the dirty little secrets about yttrium (because you are a perv). You want to know the answers to questions such as

Did David Beckham cheat on Victoria with yttrium?

Yttrium is a transitional metal. It has 39 protons and 50 neutrons. The electron configuration is Kr4d15s2 (meaning it's like krypton, but with an electron in 4d (the d atomic orbital of the fourth energy level) and 2 electrons in 5s).

Yttrium's melting point is 1799 K (1526 °C) and its boiling point is 3609 K (or 3336 °C).

The ionization potentials are as follows (skip this part if you already know it by heart):

1st level: 600 kJ/mol,
2nd level: 1180 kJ/mol,
3rd level: 1980 kJ/mol,
4th level: 5847kJ/mol,
5th level: 7430 kJ/mol,
6th level: 8970 kJ/mol.

The rest are over 10000 kJ/mol, which you're probably never going to have. Accept it and move on.

If I stick yttrium up my ass, will I explode?

Yttrium is stable in air. It is silvery-metallic in appearance. Turnings of the metal combust at around 400 °C, and if yttrium is divided finely it becomes unstable in air. Yttrium is found in rare earth minerals and in uranium ore, but is not found naturally as a free element. It is commercially manufactured from monazite and bastnasite, in a reaction with calcium.

Yttrium's common oxidation state is +3. This little piece of information has been a source of joy to many. Its vapour pressure is 5.31 Pa at 1799 K.

Can I make yttrium in the comfort of my own home?

To produce yttrium in the safety (and comfort) of your own home, obtain some yttrium fluoride, and react it with calcium. You get:

2YF3 + 3Ca -> 2Y + 3 Ca3F2

It is of course, of unestimable interest to know that, naturally, yttrium exists as only one isotope, Y-89. The other isotopes are unstable, all but four (Y-87, Y-88, Y-90 and Y-91) having a half-life of less than a day.

Due to public demand, I will list several isotopes with their respective half-lives:

Isotope   |  Half life
Y-85      | 2.6 h 
Y-86      | 14.74 h
Y-87      | 3.35 d
Y-88      | 106.6 d 
Y-89      | Stable
Y-90      | 2.67 d 
Y-91      | 58.5 d  
Y-92      | 3.54 h  
Y-93      | 10.2 h

Does yttrium come from outer space? How do you pronounce the Y?

Yttrium was discovered by Johan Gadolin in 1794. It was discovered in a mine near Ytterby, a village in Sweden. This little village (where, at the time of writing, the sky appears to be overcast according to a prominent weather site, and the temperatures a not-so-warm 14 °C (not to be used for navigational purposes)), is not too far from Stockholm. In this mine, Gadolin discovered Yttria (as you can see, they were very creative name-wise). Incidentally, due to a severe vowel shortage, Ytterby also gave its name to three other other elements: ytterbium, terbium and erbium, but that is the subject of another (and no less exciting) node. In 1828, Friedrich Wohler isolated yttrium oxide, and in 1843 Mosander showed that yttria was actually a combination of oxides of three elements, yttrium, erbium and terbium (good times, good times). Today, yttria refers only to yttrium oxide.

Quite a large amount of yttrium is found on the moon.

Despite the fact that it is not a lanthanide or an actinide, it is considered a rare-earth metal because of its similarity and natural proximity to the lanthanides.

Is yttrium used in scented inks in the japanese porn comic industry?

Yttrium's main use is in colour televisions. YVO4 europium and Y2O3 europium phosphors are used to give the red colour in television tubes.

Other than that, yttrium is used to increase strength in aluminium and magnesium alloys, is used in lasers (that is always cool) and as a catalyst for ethylene polymerization. Yttrium oxide is used to produce yttrium-iron garnets, which are very effective microwave filters.

Where can I get some pure yttrium?

99.9% pure yttrium is currently going for about $140/kg, less if you order a large amount. Several sites say the price is $75/oz, but hey, my figure is a quote from an actual dealer (true fact, and not as interesting as it would seem).

I got some yttrium in my eye! What do I do?

Flush eyes with warm water for 15 minutes. If irritation persists, seek medical attention.

What happens if I mix yttrium up with cocaine?

Take deep breaths of fresh air and avoid further inhalation of material. If irritation persists, seek medical attention.

(The previous two items are actual quotes from a safety brochure on yttrium).

Does yttrium taste like chicken?



  • elements/text/Y/key.html

I did it. You can do it too!

Yt"tri*um (?), n. [NL., from Ytterby, in Sweden. See Erbium.] Chem.

A rare metallic element of the boron-aluminium group, found in gadolinite and other rare minerals, and extracted as a dark gray powder. Symbol Y. Atomic weight, 89.

[Written also ittrium.]

⇒ Associated with yttrium are certain rare elements, as erbium, ytterbium, samarium, etc., which are separated in a pure state with great difficulty. They are studied by means of their spark or phosphorescent spectra. Yttrium is now regarded as probably not a simple element, but as a mixture of several substances.


© Webster 1913.

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