Johan Gadolin – discoverer of yttrium & gadolinium elements

Johan Gadolin – discoverer of yttrium & gadolinium elements

Johan Gadolin – discoverer of yttrium & gadolinium elements

Biography & contributions

Johan Gadolin was a Finnish chemist, physicist and mineralogist born on June 05, 1760 – died on August 15, 1852. Gadolin was the founder of Finnish chemistry research and discoverer of yttrium chemical element.

He isolated a rare earth oxide which was later named yttria. He also isolated in the same study yttrium trihydroxide. In 1886 Jean Charles Marignac isolated a new rare-earth element and named it as gadolinium, which is named after Gadolin. Gadolin also studied specific heats and latent heats. He made a significant contribution to analytical chemistry by suggesting the ferricyanide titration of ferrous iron.

Facts about yttrium

Yttrium got its name after the village of Ytterby. Yttrium is primarily obtained through solvent extraction processes from a type of clay deposit in China that is a primary source of heavy rare earth elements. Yttrium is represented by symbol Y, atomic number 39, atomic mass 88.9 g/mol, electron configuration [Kr] 4d1 5s2,density 4.472 g/cm3,melting point 1526 °C, boiling point 2730 °C.

Yttrium is a silvery-metallic transition element with chemical properties similar to the lanthanide elements and has historically been classified as a rare earth element. It is almost always found combined with the lanthanides in rare earth minerals, and is never found in nature as a free element. Yttrium isotopes are among the most common products of the nuclear fission of uranium occurring in nuclear explosions and nuclear reactors.

Yttrium is used in the mix of yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) in the development of superconducting materials for the transmission of electricity, used to simulate diamond gemstones and yttrium oxide is used to stabilize the cubic form of zirconia for use in jewelry, used in the manufacturing of gas mantles for propane lanterns as a replacement for thorium, which is radioactive.Yttrium also used in making phosphors, used in the production of electrodes, electrolytes, electronic filters, lasers and superconductors, various medical applications, and the tracing of various materials to enhance their properties.

Yttrium is used in the production of a large variety of synthetic garnets and yttria is used to make yttrium iron garnets. Yttrium can be used to deoxidize vanadium and other non-ferrous metals.Yttrium stabilized zirconia will take a sharper edge than conventional scalpels and is used in fabrication of needles that are used to sever pain-transmitting nerves in the spinal cord.

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