Jean de Marignac discoverer of ytterbium, prepared silicotungstic acid

Jean de Marignac – discoverer of ytterbium element

Article on Jean de Marignac

Biography & contributions

Jean de Marignac (Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac) was, a Swiss chemist born on April 24, 1817 – died on April 15, 1894. Marignac was eminent for discovery of ytterbium in 1878 and co-discovery of gadolinium element.In 1858 he pointed out the isomorphism of the fluostannates and the fluosilicates. Marignac prepared silicotungstic acid.

He discovered that niobium and tantalum could be separated by fractional crystallization separation of potassium heptafluorotantalate from potassium oxypentafluoroniobate monohydrate.

Marignac’s other important works include thermal effects produced by the dilution of saline solutions, the variation of the specific heat of saline solutions with temperature and concentration, and the phenomena of liquid diffusion.

Facts about ytterbium

Ytterbium is lanthanide series periodic table element with symbol Yb, atomic number 70, atomic mass 173.05 g/mol, electron configuration [Xe] 4f14 6s2, melting point 824 °C, boiling point 1196 °C.

In 1878, the Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac separated in the rare earth "erbia" another independent component, which he called "ytterbia", for Ytterby, the village in Sweden near where he found the new component of erbium. He suspected that ytterbia was a compound of a new element that he called "ytterbium".

Ytterbium is found with other rare earth elements in several rare minerals. It is most often recovered commercially from monazite sand (0.03% ytterbium). Ytterbium also found in euxenite and xenotime. The main mining areas are China, the United States, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia.

Ytterbium has a bright silvery lustre, is soft, malleable, and quite ductile. Ytterbium is readily attacked and dissolved by mineral acids and reacts slowly with water.

Ytterbium is used in alloys and is added to stainless steel to improve grain refinement and strength. Ytterbium fiber laser amplifiers are used in marking and engraving. Ytterbium compounds are also used as catalysts in the organic chemical industry.

Ytterbium can also be used as a dopant to help improve the grain refinement, strength, and other mechanical properties of stainless steel. Ytterbium metal increases its electrical resistivity when subjected to high stresses. Ytterbium +3 ion is used as a doping material in active laser media, specifically in solid state lasers and double clad fiber lasers.

Facts about silicotungstic acid

Silicotungstic acid also termed as tungstosilicic acid. It is belongs to heteropoly acid and widely used as catalyst in the chemical industries. Silicotungstic acid is used in the manufacturing of ethyl acetate by the alkylation of acetic acid.

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