Yttrium is a chemical element with atomic number 39. It is a silvery-metallic transition metal chemically similar to the lanthanoids and has historically been classified as a rare-earth element. Yttrium is almost always found combined with the lanthanoids in rare-earth minerals and is never found in nature as a free element. Its only stable isotope, 89Y, is also its only naturally occurring isotope. In 1787, Carl Axel Arrhenius found a new mineral near Ytterby in Sweden and named it ytterbite, after the village. Johan Gadolin discovered yttrium's oxide in Arrhenius' sample in 1789, and Anders Gustaf Ekeberg named the new oxide yttria. Elemental yttrium was first isolated in 1828 by Friedrich Wöhler. The most important use of yttrium compounds is in making phosphors, such as the red ones used in television cathode ray tube displays and in LEDs. Other uses include the production of electrodes, electrolytes, electronic filters, lasers and superconductors; various medical applications; and as traces in various materials to enhance their properties. Yttrium has no known biological role. Exposure to yttrium compounds can cause lung disease in humans.
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Dutch explorer Abel Tasman reached Tasmania. He named the island Anthoonij van Diemenslandt after Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies Anthony van Diemen.
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