Ytterbium (Yb)

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Ytterbium 70Yb173.04

Discovered in 1878 by J.C.G. de Marignac in Geneva, Switzerland.

[Named after Ytterby, Sweden]

French: ytterbium
German: Ytterbium
Italian: itterbio
Spanish: yterbio

Description: Ytterbium is a soft, silvery-white metal of the so-called rare earth group (more correctly termed the lanthanide). It is slowly oxidised by air and reacts with water. It has few uses but some is employed in stress gauges.


Further Materials properties


Crystal structure:

(cell dimensions/pm), space group, 
α-Yb f.c.c. (a=548.62), Fm3m
β-Yb b. c.c. (a=444), Fm3m
T (α -> β) = 1 073K

X-ray diffractions mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 146(µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKa 84.5 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 1.243 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 34.8 sa / barns
Density: 6965 kg/m-3 [293 K]
Melting point: 823.85°C / 1097°K
Boiling point: 1192.85°C / 1466°K
Molar volume: 24.84 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 34.9 [300 K] W m-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 25.0 x 10-6 (a axis); 6.1 x 10-6 (b axis); 6.8 x 10-6 (c axis) K-1
Electrical resistivity: 29.0 x 10-8 [273 K] Ωm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: +1.81 x 10-8(s) kg-1m3
Radi: Yb3+ 86; Yb2+ 113; atomic 194; covalent 170
Electronegativity: n.a. (Pauling); 1.06 (Allred); ≤3.5 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 2.85 (Slater); 8.59 (Clementi); 11.90 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 29
Isotope mass range: 154 -> 179



Biological data


Biological role: None, but acts to stimulate metabolism.
Toxic intake: n.a.
Lethal intake: LD50 (chloride, oral, mouse) = 6700 mg kg-1
Hazards: Ytterbium is mildly toxic by ingestion and is a skin and eye irritant. It is also a suspected teratogen..
Level in humans n.a. but very low
Daily dietary intake: n.a. 
Total mass of element in average
[70 kg] person:

Geological data


MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Euxenite*  (Y,Ca,Ce,U,Th)(Nb,Ta,Ti)2O6 5.0  5.5 - 6.5  orth., met. greasy black
Xenotime*  YPO4 4.8  4 - 5  tet., vit./res. yellow-brown

* These ores contain extractable amounts of ytterbium.

Chief ores: euxenite, xenotime
World production: c. 50 tonnes/year
Main mining areas: USA, Canada. Euxenite is also found in Greenland and Brazil
Reserves: c. 1 x 106.
Specimen: available as chipes or ingots. Safe. Yb powder is a skin and eye irritant. Care!


Sun: 8 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 3.3 ppm
Atlantic surface:  5 x 10-7 ppm
Atlantic deep:  7.5 x 10-7 ppm
Pacific surface:  3.7 x 10-7 ppm
Pacifc deep:  22 x 10-7 ppm
Residence time:  400 years
Classification:  recycled
Oxidation state:  III

  Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

Other sizes and specifications on request

Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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