Scandium is a silvery-white metal and is a chemical element with the atomic number 21 and is represented by the chemical symbol Sc. It is often classified as a rare earth element because it is mostly found with other rare earth elements. Despite this classification it isn’t all that rare and is the 50th most comment element on the planet. It is usually extracted from rare earth minerals such as gadolinite and euxenite. Production is very low and the global trade for this element is about 100 lbs per year. All of the scandium found on the planet is made up of a single isotope, but there are also many other isotopes of scandium that have been identified.
How many isotopes does scandium have?
All naturally occurring scandium is made up of the stable 45Sc. In addition to this 24 unstable (radioisotopes) have also been identified. The most stable of these is 46Sc which has a half-life of 83.8 days. The other relatively long lived unstable isotopes of scandium are 47Sc (half-life of 3.35 days) and 48Sc (half-life of 43.7 hours). All of the remaining radioisotopes have half-lives less than four hours and most are less than two minutes. The most unstable isotopes are 39Sc and 38Sc which have a half-life of less than 300 nanoseconds. All of the isotopes with mass numbers lower than this have unknown half-lives. Most of the isotopes below 45Sc decay to calcium and most isotopes above 45Sc decay to titanium.
Did you know?
Strontium also has 10 meta states. The most stable of these is 44mSc with a half-life of 58.6 hours.