Metallic Element Erbium: Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1105 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Chemistry

Metallic Element Erbium

Erbium: The Metal and Its Uses

This paper explores the metallic element erbium, which prior to the use of fiber optic communication systems and "Wi Fi" communications received little attention. Considered a rare element, erbium while typically gray in color also contains pink compounds, making it useful as an addition to glass or porcelain products aesthetically. For one to appreciate the real value erbium has to offer one must understand its history, physical properties and availability. The paper begins by a discussion of the history of erbium followed by an overview of its physical properties, uses and functions.

Who Discovered/When

Erbium is one of many elements listed in the periodic table, a metallic chemical element specifically (Columbia 15785). Symbolized by the abbreviation Er, most credit the discovery of this element to a scientist named Carl G. Mosander, who although did not isolate the element, located it and separated it from "three oxide fractions" (Columbia 15785). It was not until 1934 that pure erbium was isolated from it's fractions by other scientists (Columbia 15785) allowing for greater exploration into its uses for commercial purposes.

Physical Properties and Locations

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The physical properties of Erbium are as follows: (1) wt. = 167.26; (2) melting point at 1,529 degrees Celsius; (3) boiling point at 2,863 degrees Celsius; and (4) "sp.gr. 9.05" when at 25 degrees Celsius (Columbia, 15785). The element has a valence of +3, and the element itself looks silver in color, giving off a soft and glossy look and appeal. The metallic element is also very malleable or soft in nature.

In its purest form erbium is not a stand alone element; rather it contains 6 isotopes (stable) and 10 radioactive ones (Columbia 15785). Within the periodic table of elements scientists categorize or group Er in class IIIb and as a member of the lanthanide series (Columbia 15785). This series of elements are considered "rare" and includes all elements containing atomic numbers "58-71" with erbium ranked at 68 (Columbia, 27273).

Term Paper on Metallic Element Erbium Erbium: The Metal and Assignment

Typically erbium is found with other very rare metallic elements, often located in Sweden (Columbia 15785). In its natural state erbium typically is located while bound within "mozanite sand ores" (Wiki 1). Most erbium comes from minerals including euxenite, xenotime and in the last decade or so from clays located within southern China (Wiki 1; Columbia 15785). Many of the countries that now prepare erbium for commercial purposes are in fact, located in China.

Companies Involved in Preparation and Sale

The use of erbium lasers is becoming increasingly popular as many companies utilize this technology to enhance appearance and for skin resurfacing, in part due to the advent of erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, described below. Examples of companies that prepare the compound include Jiangsu Hongyuan Textile Machinery Co. Ltd., located at 11 Liagxi Road, Wuxi Jiangsu Province, China (Alibaba).

Another company not surprisingly located in China includes the Zhejiang Ante Meter Co., Ltd., located in the Ante Industrial Park, Wenxi, Qungtian, and Lishui City, Zhejiang, China (Alibaba).

Other companies including Ciena prepare erbium in-house for commercial purposes including configuration for optical amplifiers, as does Southampton Photonics', forged from the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the Southampton University (Optical Keyhole).

Within Southampton multiple companies exist including Sensor Dynamics and Pirelli that have factories near Eastleigh, U.K. (Optical Keyhole).

Methods of Preparation & Uses

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