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Home / Newton Desk / Ytterbium Yb (Element 70) of Periodic Table

Ytterbium Yb (Element 70) of Periodic Table

70 Yb (Ytterbium)


Flashcard of Ytterbium

Ytterbium is soft, malleable and quite ductile element with an appearance of bright silvery luster.
It should be kept in closed containers to prevent it from air and moisture.  
It is easily attacked and dissolved by dilute and concentrated mineral acids and slowly reacts with water.

Ytterbium element


Ytterbium metal

Ytterbium Metal (99.95% Pure)

CAS Number:  7440-64-4
CID Number:  CID23992
RTECS Number:  RTECSZG1925000 

Basic Properties of Ytterbium

Appearance:  Silvery white; with a pale yellow tint
Mass Number:  173
Standard Atomic weight:  173.045 g/mol
Electrons:  70
Protons:  70
Neutrons:  103
Atomic number (Z):  70
Period:  6
Block:  f
Element category:  Lanthanide
Electrons per shell:  K2, L8, M18, N32, O8, P2
Electron configuration:  1s22s22p63s23p63d104s24p64d105s25p64f146s2 

Ytterbium electron configuration

Ytterbium Electron Configuration

Thermal Properties of Ytterbium

Phase:  Solid
Melting point:  1097 K (824 oC, 1515 oF)
Boiling point:  1469 K (1196 oC, 2185 oF)
Fusion heat:  7.66 kJ/mol
Vaporization heat:  129 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity:  26.74 J/(mol.K)
Thermal expansion:  β, poly: 26.3 μm/(m∙K)
Thermal conductivity:  38.5 W/(m∙K)

Electrical properties of Ytterbium

Electrical conductivity:  3.6×106
sElectrical resistivity:  β, poly: 0.250 μΩ∙m
sElectrical type:  Conductor

Magnetic Properties of Ytterbium

sMagnetic type:  Paramagnetic (At 1.0 K)
Magnetic susceptibility (xmol):  +249×10-6 cm3
Volume magnetic susceptibility:  0.0000388
Mass magnetic susceptibility:  5.9×10-9 m3/kg
Molar magnetic susceptibility:  1.02×10-9 m3/mol

Physical Properties of Ytterbium

Density:  6.90 g/cm3 (In solid)  6.21 g/cm3 (In Liquid)
Molar volume:  0.00002634 m3/mol
Young’s modulus:  β form: 24 GPa
Shear modulus:  β form: 9.9 GPa
Bulk modulus:  β form: 31 GPa
Poisson ratio:  β form: 0.207
Vicker hardness:  205-250 MPa
Brinell hardness:  340-440 MPa
Sound speed:  1590 m/s

Atomic Properties of Ytterbium

Oxidation states:  3,2,1
Valence Electrons:  4f14 6s2
Ion charge:  Yb3+ Yb2+
Ionization energies:  1st: 603.4 kJ.mol 2nd: 1174.8 kJ/mol 3rd: 2417 kJ/mol 4th: 4202.9 kJ/mol
Ionic radius:  85.8 pm
Atomic radius:  242 pm (Van der Waals)
Covalent radius:  187±8 pm
Filling Orbital:  4f14
Crystal structure:  Face-centered cubic (β, At room temperature), Body centered cubic (γ, At 795 oC), Hexagonal close packed (α, At -13 oC)
Lattice angles:  π/2, π/2, π/2
Lattice constant:  548.47, 548.47, 548.47 pm
Grid parameters:  5.490 Å
Space Group Name:   Fm_3m
Space Group Number:  225

Face Centered Cubic

Face Centered Cubic (FCC)

body centered cubic

Body Centered Cubic (BCC)

Hexagonal Close Packed

Hexagonal Close Packed (HCP)

Reactivity of Ytterbium

Electronegativity:  pauling scale: 1.1
Valence:  3
Electron affinity:  50 kJ/mol

Nuclear Properties of Ytterbium

Half Life:  Stable (Infinity)
Lifetime:  Stable (Infinity)
Quantum Number:  1S0
Neutron cross section (Brans):  35
Neutron Mass Absorption:  0.0076
Isotopes:  166Yb 168Yb 169Yb 170Yb 171Yb 172Yb 173Yb 174Yb 175Yb 176Yb 177Yb


Isotope Abundance (%) Atomic Mass g/mol Half Life (t1/2)
166Yb Syn 56.7 h
168Yb 0.13 167.934 Stable
169Yb Syn 32.026 d
170Yb 3.023 169.935 Stable
171Yb 14.22 170.936 Stable
172Yb 21.75 171.936 Stable
173Yb 16.10 172.938 Stable
174Yb 31.90 173.938 Stable
175Yb Syn 4.185 d
176Yb 12.89 175.943 Stable
177yb Syn 1.911 h

Chemical Reactions

The metal tarnishes slowly in air and burns readily to form ytterbium (lll) oxide:
4 Yb + 3 O2 → 2 Yb2O3
Reacts slowly with cold water and rapidly with hot water (form Ytterbium (lll) hydroxide and hydrogen gas):
2 Yb (s) + 6 H2O (l) → 2 Yb(OH)3 (aq) + 3 H2 (g)
The metal reacts with all Halogens to form Ytterbium (lll) halides:
2 Yb (s) + 3 F2 (g) → 2 YbF3 (s)  [white]  (Ytterbium (lll) fluoride)
2 Yb (s) + 3 Cl2 (g) → 2 YbCl3 (s)  [white]  (Ytterbium (lll) chloride)
2 Yb (s) + 3 Br2 (g) → 2 YbBr3 (s)  [white]  (Ytterbium (lll) bromide)
2 Yb (s) + 3 I2 (g)  →  2 YbI3 (s)     [white]  (Ytterbium (lll) iodide)
Dissolves readily in dilute sulfuric acid to form Solutions containing Ytterbium (lll) ions (colourless):
2 Yb (s) + 3 H2SO4 (aq) + 18 H2O (l) → 2 [Yb(H2O)9]3+ (aq) + 3 SO42− (aq) + 3 H2 (g)

Ytterbium History

Naming:  After Ytterby (Village in Sweden), where it was mined
Discovery:  Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac (1878)
First isolation:  Carl Auer von Welsbach (1906)

Ytterbium Uses

Ytterbium metal could be possible use in improving the grain refinement, strength, and other mechanical properties of stainless steel.

One isotope is have been used as a radiation source substitute for a portable X-ray machine where electricity is unavailable.
Use in memory devices and tuneable lasers.

It can also used as an industrial catalyst and because of low toxicity it is increasingly used to replace other catalysts which considered to be too toxic and polluting.
Some ytterbium alloys have been used in dentistry.

Biological role: It has Low toxicity

Abundance of Ytterbium

Ytterbium is found with other rare elements in several rare minerals such as monazite, Yttria, gadolinite, and xenotime.
It is most often recovered commercially from monazite sand (~0.03% ytterbium).
It can be extracted by ion exchange and solvent extraction.

Annual world wide production is around 50 tons per year.
2×10-7% (In Universe)
1×10-7% (In Sun)
1.8×10-5% (In Meteorites)
0.00028% (In Earth crust)
8×10-11% (In Oceans)

World’s Top 3 producers

1) China
2) Russia
3) Malaysia

World’s Top 3 Reserve holders

1) China
2) CIS Countries (inc. Russia)
3) USA


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