Ytterbium tends to be more reactive than other lanthanide metals. It is stored in sealed containers to prevent the metal from reacting with oxygen. The pure metal has only a few uses. A small amount of ytterbium is used in steelmaking, while its compounds are used in some lasers.

Summary of properties (Yb)

Atomic weight173.045(10)
Discoverer (year)De Marignac, Jean Charles Galissard (1878)
Natural formmetallic solid (face centered cubic)
Electron configuration[Xe] 414 6s2
Melting point (ºC)824
Boiling point (ºC)1466
Abundance in earth's crust (ppm)3.2
Isotope (abundance)168Yb (0.13), 170Yb (3.04), 171Yb (14.28), 172Yb (21.83), 173Yb (16.13), 174Yb (31.83), 176Yb (12.76)
Density g/cm36.9
Van der Waals radius (pm)226
Covalent radius (pm)178
Electronegativity (Pauling)
Vaporization enthalpy (kJ/mol)159.00
Enthalpy of fusion (kJ/mol)7.66
Specific heat capacity (J/g·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm0.16
Thermal conductivity (W/cm·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm0.390
Oxidation state+3, +2
Electron affinity (eV)-0.02
1st Ionization potential (eV)6.2542

Back to the Periodic Table of the Elements.