Yttrium is a silver metal that is not found as a free metal in nature. It is a chemical element represented by the symbol Y and atomic number 39. Yttrium is often classified as a rare earth metal, but it is the 28th most common element in the crust of the Earth. It is commonly found in rare earth minerals where, despite being difficult to separate, it is obtained for commercial use. About 600 metric tons are produced each year for a number of important uses. Let’s find out who discovered this element.
Who discovered yttrium
The discovery of yttrium can be traced back to 1787 when army lieutenant, and amateur chemist, Carl Axel Arrhenius found a rock in an abandoned quarry in Sweden. He assumed that it was a mineral that contained the newly discovered element tungsten. He named the mineral ytterbite after the village of Ytterby, which was close to where he found it, and sent the sample to chemists to study.
Finiish chemist Johan Gadolin received the sample and in 1789 was able to isolate a rare earth oxide from the ytterbite, which he named yttria. The yttrium oxide was the first rare earth metal compound that was ever discovered. His findings were published in 1794 and Anders Gustaf Ekeberg confirmed the discovery in 1797. It wasn’t until later that chemical elements were better understood that Gadolin was officially credited with the discovery of yttrium. The metal was first isolated in 1828 by German chemist Friedrich Wöhler.
Did you know?
In 1800 the mineral ytterbite was named gadolinite in honor of Johan Gadolin. The element gadolinium was also named in his honor. Later, more elements were discovered in the mineral gadolinium.