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Lutetium (Lu): Lanthanides

Lutetium (Lu)

What is Lutetium?

Lutetium is a silvery white metal that is quite soft and ductile. The term ductile means capable of being drawn into thin wires. It has a melting point of 1,652 °C (3,006°F) and a boiling point of 3,327° (6,021°F). Its density is 8.49 grams per cubic centimeter.  Lutetium reacts slowly with water and dissolves in acids. Other chemical properties tend to be of interest only to researchers.  

Lutetium is thought to be very rare in the Earth's crust. It occurs to the extent of about 0.8 to 1.7 parts per million. That still makes it somewhat more common than better known elements such as iodine, silver, and mercury. The most common ore of lutetium is monazite, in which its concentration is about 0.003 percent. Continue reading from Chemistry Explained

The History

The honour of discovering lutetium went to Georges Urbain at the Sorbonne in Paris, because he was the first to report it. The story began with the discovery of yttrium in 1794 from which several other elements – the rare earths (aka lanthanoids) – were to be separated, starting with erbium in 1843 and ending with lutetium in 1907.  Other chemists, namely Karl Auer in Germany and Charles James in the USA, were about to make the same discovery. Indeed James, who was at the University of New Hampshire, was ahead of Urbain and had extracted quite a lot of the new metal, but he delayed publishing his research. A sample of pure lutetium metal itself was not made until 1953. Continue reading from Royal Society of Chemistry

Lutetium Facts

Lutetium is the last of the lanthanides, and the hardest of them. The pure metal has been isolated only in recent years and is one of the most difficult to prepare. The commercial uses for lutetium are very limited. Stable lutetium nuclides, which emit pure beta radiation after thermal neutron activation, can be used as catalysts in hydrogenation, cracking, alkylation and polymerization. Continue reading from LiveScience

Chart of Elemental Properties for Lutetium

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