Yb Element

2/15/2022by admin

Ytterbium is available as metal and compounds with purities from 99% to 99.999% (ACS grade to ultra-high purity). Elemental or metallic forms of ytterbium include pellets, rod, wire, and granules for evaporation source material purposes. Ytterbium forms a protective oxide layer in air, which makes it quite resistant. It is not particularly rare for a lanthanoid, but difficult to separate from the others, so it is not used much. Its main application is as additive in special steels and for special permanent magnets.

  1. Yb Element Protons Neutrons Electrons
  2. Yb Element
  3. Yb Element 2
  4. Yb Element Symbol
  5. Atomic Mass Of Ytterbium

Stable isotopes of ytterbium available from ISOFLEX

IsotopeZ(p)N(n)Atomic MassNatural AbundanceEnrichment LevelChemical Form
Yb-168 70 98 167.9338950.13% 35.00-87.00%Oxide
Yb-170 70 100 169.9347583.05%>70.00%Oxide
Yb elemental symbol

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Ytterbium was discovered in 1878 by Jean de Marignac. It is named after the village of Ytterby, near Vaxholm, Sweden.

Ytterbium is a silvery, lustrous metal that is soft, malleable and ductile. The metal exists in two allotropic forms: an alpha form, which has a face-centered cubic structure and a density of 6.98 g/cm3 and is stable at room temperature; and a beta form, with a body-centered cubic modification and a density of 6.54 g/cm3.The beta form appears when the alpha form is heated to 798 ºC. Ytterbium reacts slowly with water and is soluble in dilute acids and liquid ammonia. It reacts with oxygen above 200 ºC. It forms two oxides: a monoxide and a more stable sesquioxide. The metal dissolves in dilute and concentrated mineral acids. Similar to other rare earth metals, ytterbium is corroded slowly at ordinary temperatures by caustic alkalis, ammonium hydroxide and sodium nitrate solutions. The metal also dissolves in liquid ammonia, forming a deep blue solution. Reactions with halogens are slow at room temperature but progress rapidly above 200 ºC, forming ytterbium trihalides. At elevated temperatures, ytterbium forms many binary, metalloid and intermetallic compounds with a number of elements.

Ytterbium metal has very little commercial use. In elemental form it is a laser source, a portable x-ray source, and a dopant in garnets. When added to stainless steel, it improves grain refinement, strength and other properties. Some other applications include carbon rods for industrial lighting, titanate-insulated capacitors, and additives to glass. The radioactive isotope Ytterbium-169 is used in portable devices to examine defects in thin steel and aluminum. The metal and its compounds are used in fundamental research.

Properties of Ytterbium

Atomic number70
Atomic weight173.04
Standard stateSolid at 298 ºK
CAS Registry ID7440-64-4
Group in periodic tableN/A
Group nameLanthanoid
Period in periodic table6 (Lanthanoid)
Block in periodic tablef-block
ColorSilvery white
Melting point824 °C
Boiling point1194 °C
Vaporization point1194 °C
Thermal conductivity34.9 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity25.0 µΩ·cm at 25 ºC
Specific heat0.3 kJ/kg K
Heat of vaporization160 kJ·mol-1
Heat of fusion7.7 kJ·mol-1
Density of liquid6.21 g/cm3 at 824 °C
Density of solid6.97 g/cm3
Electron configuration[Xe]4f146s2
Atomic radius1.945 Å
Ionic radiusYb3+: 0.868 Å (coordination number 6) and
0.98 Å (coordination number 8)
Oxidation states +2, +3

Ytterbium was discovered in 1878. It oxidizes in the air but it forms a protective layer on the surface. 160Yb is used in portable X-ray machines that need no electricity. It is used as a catalyst in organic chemical industry.

History and Discovery

Ytterbium was discovered by Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac in 1878. He was analyzing the samples of gadolinite when he found new element and named it ytterbia after Ytterby the Swedish village. He also heated erbium nitrate until decomposed and named the resultant white powder ytterbium oxide. In 1907, Georges Urbain separated ytterbia into two components neoytterbia and lutecia. Neoytterbia later called ytterbium and lutecia was known as lutetium. In the same time, Carl Auer von Welsbach independently carried out research, but he called new element aldebaranium and cassiopeium. In 1937, first ytterbium metal was made by Klemm and Bonner by heating ytterbium chloride and potassium together. Its pure metal form was manufactured in 1953 by A. Daane, David Dennison and Frank Spedding [1].


Periodic Table ClassificationGroup n/a
Period 6
State at 20CSolid
ColorSilvery white
Electron Configuration[Xe] 4f14 6s2
Electron Number70
Proton Number70
Electron Shell2, 8, 18, 32, 8, 2
Density6.90 g.cm-3 at 20°C
Atomic number70
Atomic Mass173.04 g.mol -1
Electronegativity according to Pauling1.10


Ytterbium abundance in earth crust is about 3 mg/kg. It is not found free in nature. Ytterbium is present along with several rare minerals. It is common substitute to yttrium minerals. It is also found in euxenite and xenotime (phosphate mineral). Ytterbium is mostly separated from its ores through ion exchange and solvent extraction technique otherwise it is very difficult [2]. The main deposits of ytterbium are found in China, United States, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka and Australia.

Physical Characteristics

Ytterbium displays bright silver luster, it is soft, pliable and undergo soft deformation (ductile). It has three allotropes forms: alpha, beta and gamma. They undergo deformation but depends on pressure and stress at temperature about -13OC and 795OC. Ytterbium is paramagnetic at 1.0 K. It usually have antiferromagnetic and ferromagnetic properties at low temperatures [3]. Ytterbium has chemical symbol Yb with atomic number 70. Its atomic weight is 173.045. Ytterbium melting point is 824OC and boiling point is 1196OC. Its density near room temperature is about 6.90 g/cm3.

Chemical Characteristics

Ytterbium is tarnished in air slowly. It oxidizes in air when finely dispersed. Ytterbium burns in powder mixture with hexachloroethane and produce luminous emerald green flame. It reacts with hydrogen and forms non-stoichiometric hydrides. It also dissolves slowly in water but quickly in acid and liberate hydrogen gas. Ytterbium is electropositive react slowly quite quickly with hot water and formed ytterbium (lll) hydroxide. It reacts with all halogens and form dihalides and trihalides. Yb2O3 is in white color and the salts are also colorless. Ytterbium mostly exist in +2 and +3 oxidation states. Ytterbium (ll) ions are strong reducing agent and decomposes water to release hydrogen gas.

Significance and Uses

Yb Element Protons Neutrons Electrons

  • 169Yb isotope along with 175Yb was used as a radiation source in portable X-ray machine.
  • 169Yb is used in nuclear medicine.
  • Ytterbium is also present in high stability atomic clocks.
  • It is used as dopant to improve the grain refinement, strength and other mechanical properties of stainless steel.
  • In alloy form it is used in dentistry.
  • Ytterbium (lll) ion used as doping material in active laser media, solid state lasers and double clad fiber laser.
  • Ytterbium metal increases electrical resistivity so it is used to monitor ground deformation from earth quakes and explosions.
  • It is also act as industrial catalyst.
  • It can be used to dope phosphorous or for ceramic capacitors.
  • It is also used with yttrium in certain steel alloys.

Health Effects

Ytterbium in pure form is non-toxic. It can sometime cause skin and eye irritation. However, its salts and certain compounds are highly toxic. Ytterbium compounds should be stored in closed container and must be protected from moisture and direct contact with air. Ytterbium salts, in minute quantity have been reported to stimulate metabolism otherwise it has no biological role.

Isotopes of Ytterbium

Ytterbium has seven stable isotopes: 168Yb, 170Yb, 171Yb, 172Yb, 173Yb, 174Yb and 176Yb. It has twenty seven radioisotopes in which the most stable one is 169Yb have half-life of 32 days. 175Yb with the half-life of 4.18 days. 166Yb have 56.7 hours. All remaining have half-lives less than two hours and some have less than 20 minutes. Ytterbium isotopes atomic weight range from 148Yb to 181Yb.


Yb Element



Yb Element 2

[3]. Hammond, C. R. (2000). The Elements, in Handbook of Chemistry and Physics(81st ed.). CRC press. ISBN978-0-8493-0481-1

Yb Element Symbol

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Atomic Mass Of Ytterbium

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