By Theresa Mull, Pd. 3

Background Information

Identifying Information

Atomic Number: 68

Mass Number: 167.26

Protons: 68

Neutrons: 99

Electrons: 68

Physical Properties

Atomic Mass: 167.259

Atomic Radius in picometers (pm): 226pm

Density: 9.066g/cc

Melting Point: 1497˚C (2727˚F)

Boiling Point: 2868˚C (5194˚F)

At room temperature Erbium is a solid

Appearance: bright, silvery, metallic; Erbium oxide is pink

Conductivity: is a metal, conductive

Malleability: high malleability (metal); combined with vanadium so make more shape-able

Hardness: Combined with vanadium to make it softer

Other physical properties: Erbium oxide is pink, Erbium as a solid is silver and shiny.

Chemical Properties

Flammability: highly flammable in powdered state

Reactivity: low reactivity, can be combined with other elements like vanadium to change physical properties

History of Erbium

Erbium was first discovered between the years 1842-1843 in Sweden by Carl Gustav Mosander. It was obtained, along with another metal oxide, from another element, yttrium, which had been discovered in 1794. The other metal oxide found was terbium oxide. A sample of pure Erbium was produced in 1934 by Wilhelm Klemm and Heinrich Bommer. They heated purified Erbium chloride with potassium to produce the pure sample.

Symbol: Er

Location on the Periodic Table

Located in the Lanthanide boxes (rare elements section), boxes 58-71
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Application and Uses:

Fun Facts: Name and Symbol

Erbium's name comes from the Swedish town of Ytterby.


Other Fun Facts

  • Erbium is slightly toxic, especially in its powdered state.
  • Because of its pink color, it is used for jewelry, sunglasses and glassware/porcelain.


Erbium - Periodic Table of Videos
The Professor in this video explains the importance of Erbium, especially in the technological world.

Isotopes or Compounds

One specific isotope of Erbium that is unique and important is 166Er.

There are no specific compounds or alloys of Erbium that have important uses.

Picture Citations

Sources Cited

“The Element Erbium.” It’s Elemental. Jefferson Lab. Web. 29 Dec. 2015. <>.

“Erbium.” Periodic Table. royal Society of Chemistry. Web. 29 Dec. 2015. <>.

“Erbium.” Periodic Table. Web. 29 Dec. 2015. <>.

“Erbium.” Periodic Table of Elements: LANL. Los Alamos National Laboratory. Web. 29 Dec. 2015. <>.

Gray, Theodore W. (2008). The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements.

Gray, Theodore W. (2009). The Elements: A visual exploration of every known atom in the universe. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.