Erbium Er (Element 68) of Periodic Table

68 Er (Erbium)

Flashcard of Erbium

Erbium is a lustrous, silvery metal, soft, malleable.
It is very stable in air, but it reacts very slowly with oxygen and water and dissolves in acids.
It’s Salts are Pink coloured and  has a sharp adsorption spectra in visible, ultraviolet and infrared light.

Erbium element
Erbium Metal Piece


CAS Number:  CAS7440-52-0
CID Number:  CID23980

Basic Properties of Erbium

Pronunciation:  Ur-bee-am
Appearance:  Silvery white
Mass Number:  167
Standard Atomic weight:  167.259 g/mol
Atomic number (Z):  68
Electrons: 68
Protons:  68
Neutrons:  99
Period:  6
Block:  f
Element category:  Lanthanide
Electrons per shell:  K2, L8, M18, N30, O8, P2
Electron configuration:  1s22s22p63s23p63d104s24p64d105s25p64f126s2 

Erbium electron configuration
Erbium Electron Configuration

Thermal Properties of Erbium

Phase:  Solid
Melting point:  1802 K (1529 oC, 2784 oF)
Boiling point:   3141 K (2868 oC, 5194 oF)
Fusion heat:  19.90 kJ/mol
Vaporization heat:  280 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity:  28.12 J/(mol.K)
Thermal expansion:  poly: 12.2 μm/(m∙K)
Thermal conductivity:  14.5 W/(m∙K)
Neel  Point:  82 K

Electrical properties of Erbium

Electrical conductivity: 1.2 x106 S/m
sElectrical resistivity:  poly: 0.860 μΩ∙m
sElectrical type:  Conductor
Curie point:  32 K

Magnetic Properties of Erbium

sMagnetic type:  Paramagnetic
Magnetic susceptibility (xmol):  +44,300×10-6 cm3/mol
Volume magnetic susceptibility:  0.0341788
Mass magnetic susceptibility:  3770×10-9 m3/kg
Molar magnetic susceptibility:  630.566×10-9 m3/mol

Physical Properties of Erbium

Density:  9.066 g/cm3 (In solid)  8.86 g/cm3 (In Liquid)
Molar volume:  0.00001845 m3/mol
Young’s modulus:  69.9 GPa
Shear modulus:  28.3 GPa
Mohs Hardness: 1.97
Bulk modulus:  44.4 GPa
Poisson ratio:  0.237
Vicker hardness:  430-700 MPa
Brinell hardness:  600-1070 MPa
Sound Speed:  2830 m/s

Atomic Properties of Erbium

Oxidation states:  3, 2, 1
Valence Electrons:  4f12 6s2
Ion charge:  Er3+
Ionization energies:  1st: 589.3 kJ.mol 2nd: 1150 kJ/mol 3rd: 2194 kJ/mol
Ionic radius:   88.1 pm
Atomic radius:  235 pm (Van der Waals)
Covalent radius:  189±6 pm
Filling Orbital:  4f12
Crystal structure:  Hexagonal close-packed
Lattice angles:  π/2, π/2, π/3
Lattice constant:  355.88, 355.88, 558.74 pm
Grid parameters:  a=3.558 Å, c=5.587 Å
Attitude (c/a):  1.570
Space Group Name:  P63/mmc
Space Group Number:  194

Hexagonal Close Packed
Hexagonal Close Packed (HCP)

Reactivity of Erbium

Electronegativity:  pauling scale: 1.24
Valence:  3
Electron affinity:  50 kJ/mol

Nuclear Properties of Erbium

Half Life:  Stable (Infinity)
Lifetime:  Stable (Infinity)
Quantum Number:  3H6
Neutron cross section (Brans):  165
Neutron Mass Absorption:  0.036
Isotopes:  160Er 162Er 164Er 165Er 166Er 167Er 168Er 169Er 170Er 171Er

Isotope Abundance (%) Atomic Mass g/mol Half Life (t1/2)
160Er Syn 28.58 h
162Er 0.139 161.928 Stable
164Er 1.601 163.928 Stable
165Er Syn 10.36 h
166Er 33.503 165.930 Stable
167Er 22.869 166.933 Stable
168Er 26.978 167.933 Stable
169Er Syn 9.4 d
170Er 14.91 169.934 Stable
171Er Syn 7.516 h
172Er Syn 49.3 h

Chemical Reactions

The metal tarnishes slowly in air and burns readily to form erbium (lll) oxide:
4 Er + 3 O2 → 2 Er2O3
Reacts slowly with cold water and rapidly with hot water (form erbium hydroxide and hydrogen gas):
2 Er (s) + 6 H2O (l) → 2 Er(OH)3 (aq) + 3 H2 (g)
The metal reacts with all Halogens to form Erbium (lll) halides:
2 Er (s) + 3 F2 (g) → 2 ErF3 (s)  [pink]  (Erbium (lll) fluoride)
2 Er (s) + 3 Cl2 (g) → 2 ErCl3 (s)  [violet]  (Erbium (lll) chloride)
2 Er (s) + 3 Br2 (g) → 2 ErBr3 (s)  [violet]  (Erbium (lll) bromide)
2 Er (s) + 3 I2 (g)  →  2 ErI3 (s)     [violet]  (Erbium (lll) iodide)
Dissolves readily in dilute sulfuric acid to form Solutions containing Erbium (lll) ions (Rose red):
2 Er (s) + 3 H2SO4 (aq) → 2 Er3+ (aq) + 3 SO42− (aq) + 3 H2 (g)

Erbium History

Naming:  After Ytterby (Sweden), Where it was mined
Discovery:  Carl Gustaf Mosander (1843)

Erbium Uses

Erbium has nuclear and metallurgical uses.
When Erbiums alloyed with metals such as vanadium, it lowers their hardness and improves their workability.

Erbium oxide is used to make infrared-absorbing glass (safety glasses for welders and metal workers).
Due to its pink coloured, Erbium is also used to give colour to some sunglasses and imitation gems.
Erbium is used as a photographic filter as well, and to dope optical fibers at regular intervals to amplify signals.

Biological role: It is Low-toxic, it should be handled with care.

Abundance of Erbium

It is found in most important ores are Monazite and bastanite like other rare elements.
It can be extracted by ion exchange and solvent extraction.
Other sources are xenotime and euxenite.
Around 500 tons are produced world wide annually.

2×10-7% (In Universe)
1.8×10-5% (In Meteorites)
1×10-7% (In Sun)
0.0003% (In Earth’s Crust)
9×10-11% (In Oceans)

World’s Top 3 producers of Erbium

1) China
2) Russia
3) Malaysia

World’s Top 3 Reserve holders of Erbium

1) China
2) CIS Countries (inc. Russia)
3) USA


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