Facts About Vanadium

  1. Vanadium is a chemical element with the symbol V and atomic number 23.
  2. It is a hard, silvery grey, ductile, and a malleable transition metal.
  3. The element is found only in a chemically combined form in nature, but once it is isolated, the formation of an oxide layer stabilises the free metal to some extent against further oxidation.
  4. Vanadium transpires naturally in about 65 different minerals and in fossil fuel deposits.
  5. It's produced in Russia and China, from steel smelter slag; while in other countries it's produced either from the flue dust of heavy oil, or as a byproduct of uranium mining.


Vanadium was discovered by Andrés Manuel del Rio, a Spanish-Mexican mineralogist, in 1801. Del Río extracted the element from a sample of Mexican "brown lead" ore, later named vanadinite. He found that its salts exhibit a wide variety of colours and as a result he named the element pan chromium (Greek word for "all colors").

Later, Del Río renamed the element erythronium (Greek word for "red") as most of its salts turned red upon heating. In 1805, the French chemist Hippolyte Victor Collet-Descotils, backed by del Río's friend Baron Alexander Von Humboldt, incorrectly announced that del Río's new element was only a combined sample of chromium. Del Río accepted Collet-Descotils' statement and retracted his claim.


Vanadium metal is important in a number of areas. Its structural strength and neutron cross section properties makes it useful in nuclear applications. The metal is used for producing rust-resistant springs and steels used for making tools. About 80% of the vanadium now produced is used as ferrovanadium or as a steel additive. Vanadium foil is used as a bonding agent in biding titanium to steel.