Name Ytterbium
Symbol Yb
Atomic Number 70
Atomic Mass 173.04 atomic mass units
Number of Protons 70
Number of Neutrons 103
Number of Electrons 70
Melting Point 824.0 C
Boiling Point 1466.0 C
Density 6.98 grams per cubic centimeter
Normal Phase Solid
Family Rare Earth Metals
Period 6
Cost $530 per 100 grams



Origin of Name After Ytterby, Sweden
Date and Place of Discovery In 1843 in a quarry near Ytterby, Sweden
Discovered by Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac
Common Compounds
Interesting facts
  • It was discovered by separating gadolinite into three different materials: yttria, erbia and terbia.
  • It can be found in gadolinite, monazite, and xenotime.
  • In its natural state it is a mixture of seven stable isotopes.
  • It dissolves quickly in mineral acids.
  • It is fairly stable and reacts slowly with water.
  • It oxidizes when exposed to air.
  • Its chemical and physical properties couldn't be determined until 1953 when the first pure form was produced.
  • It should be stored in closed containers to protect it from air and moisture.
  • All its compounds should be treated as very toxic.
  • Its compounds will irritate the skin and eyes.
  • Metallic ytterbium dust is a fire and explosion hazard.
Common Uses
  • Stainless steel
  • Portable X-ray equipment when electricity isn't available
  • Radiographic study of small objects
  • Dentistry
  • Solid state lasers
  • Conversion of infrared energy into solar cell electricity


Photo Courtesy of
Chemical Elements
Jefferson Lab

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