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Geology and ESG Research Analysis

 

           

 

Metals are part of our modern lives and we must think sustainability through a process: Extraction-Integration-Recycling.

Erbium

Name

Erbium

Symbol

Er

Atomic number

68

Group

HREE

Subgroup

yttrium subgroup

Occurrence / Extraction

Found in xenotime, fergusonite, gadolinite, and euxenite.

Extraction:  Pure erbium is obtained by converting ore into erbium fluoride (ErF3) then  by passing an electric current through erbium fluoride.

Use


Erbium has application in glass coloring, as an amplifier in fiber optics, and in lasers for medical and dental use. Erbium optical fibers carry messages in long distance communication systems and in military applications.

The Erbium ion has a very narrow absorption band coloring erbium salts pink. It is therefore used in eyeware and decorative glassware. It can neutralize discoloring impurities such as ferric ions and produce a neutral gray shade. It is used in a variety of glass products for this purpose.

It is particularly useful as an amplifier for fiber optic data transfer. Erbium lasers at the wavelength required to provide an efficient optical method of amplification, 1.55 microns.  Optical fibers have proven to be an ideal method of transmitting high-definition television (HDTV) signals. Many people predict HDTV will be the next popular technology item for consumers. The signals in HDTVs contain twice as much "information" as conventional TVs do.

Lasers based on Er:YAG are ideally suited for surgical applications because of its ability to deliver energy without thermal build-up in tissue. Erbium Lasers are used to treat skin problems. The lasers have been used to remove wrinkles and scars. They work better than other kinds of lasers because they do not penetrate the skin very deeply. They also produce little heat and cause few side effects.

Properties

Erbium metal has a bright, shiny surface, much like metallic silver. It is soft and malleable. Erbium is fairly stable in air. It does not react with oxygen as quickly as most other lanthanides. Erbium compounds tend to be pink or red. They are sometimes used to color glass and ceramics.

Atomic mass: 167.26  g.mol -1
Electronegativity according to Pauling:  1.2
Density:  9.05 g.cm-3 at 20°C
Melting point: 1522°C
Boiling point:  2510 °C
 
Named after Ytterby, a village in Sweden.

Relative abundance

Erbium ranks about number 42 in abundance in the Earth's crust. It is more common than bromine, uranium, tin, silver and mercury.

atomic mass (g.mol -1)

167.26

density (g/cm3)

9.05

Oxydation number

  +3

Melting point (°C)

1522

Boiling point (°C)

2510

Magnetic moment

 

Abundance in the Earth's crust ( ppm)

2.2

discovery

Carl Gustaf Mosander  in 1843