Yttrium (Y)

By: Nick Hoopes

Physical Properties

At room temperature, Yttrium appears solid, like a soft, silvery metal. It is easier to shape because it is softer than most metals.

Chemical Properties:

Yttrium has an atomic mass of 89 and it's atomic radius in picometers in 212pm. Yttrium's density in 4.472g/cc and it's melting point is 1526 degrees Celsius, and it's boiling point is 3345 degrees Celsius.

Atomic Structure and Periodic Table

The atomic number for Yttrium is 39, giving it 39 protons and electrons, and 50 neutrons. It's mass number is 89. Yttrium is found on the very left of the transition metals section on the periodic table. It is identified by the Atomic Symbol (Y).
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History of Yttrium

Yttrium was discovered in 1794 outside of Ytterby, near Sweden, by Karl Arrhenius when he stumbled upon it outside of an old quarry. It was later discovered as a new element by Johan Gadolin in Finland. Karl described it as walking along an old quarry one, stumbling across an small black rock, and he decided to send it to Gadolin for further research. After being discovered as an element, it was added to the Periodic table, being named after the city of Ytterby, in which it was found near.

Applications and Uses

Yttrium is mostly used in lasers and phosphors for colour television sets, such as the old CRT kind. It is mostly found in China, Russia, and Malaysia, which are the top 3 producers of Yttrium. 89Y is an important isotope for Yttrium, although it was not listed to what it is used for, it is in fact a stable isotope. In compounds, Yttrium is often used to increase the strength of aluminum and magnesium alloys. It is also used as an additive in most other alloys.

Fun Facts!

Yttrium was named after the city of Ytterby, which is a village in Sweden.

Yttrium was used in J.J. Thomson's experiment, when he sent a beam of charged particles through a cathode ray tube (CRT) which Yttrium makes up.

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Sources cited

Pictures: - Yttrium Element Picture - Periodic Table - JJ Thomson - Cathode Ray Experiment.


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

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

Royal society of Chemistry Periodic Table: