Vanadium is a silvery-gray metal that is never found in its free form in nature. It is a chemical element with the atomic number 23 and is represented by the chemical symbol V. Despite, not being found naturally as a free metal, vanadium occurs naturally as a part of more than 65 minerals. Most vanadium is produced in South Africa, China and Russia and about 56,000 metric tons are produced each year. All natural vanadium found on Earth is made up of two isotopes (one stable and one unstable), but many other isotopes of vanadium have been identified as well. Let’s find out just how many isotopes of vanadium have been identified.
How many isotopes does vanadium have?
99.75% of all naturally occurring vanadium is made up of the stable isotope 51V. The remaining 0.25% is made up of the unstable isotope (radioactive or radioisotpe) 50V. This isotope is unstable, but has a very long half life of more than one hundred quadrillion years.
There are 24 artificial radioactive isotopes that have also been identified, from 40V through to 65V (not including the stable 51V). The most stable of these is 49V with a half life of about 330 days, and 48V with a half life of almost 16 days. The remaining radioisotopes have half lives less than an hour, and most of these have half lives less than 10 seconds. The most unstable is 42V which has a half life of just 55 nanoseconds (although some isotopes of vanadium have unknown half lives). Most of the isotopes before 51V decay to titanium isotopes, while the isotopes above 51V decay to chromium isotopes.