DENSITY: 9.84 g/cm

The mixture of oxides known as ytterbia was obtained from yttria by Jean-Charles-Galissard de Marignac in 1878. From ytterbia the oxides of three elements were isolated: ytterbium (named after the town of Ytterby) by Marignac; scandium (named after Scandinavia) by L. F. Nilson in 1879; and lutetium (named after Lutetia, an ancient name of Paris) by G. Urbain, C. A. von Welsbach, and C. James in 1907. Lutetium is a rare element (comprising 7.5 (10 −5 % of the igneous rocks of Earth's crust) and is found together with the heavy lanthanides . Essentially, there are two methods used to separate lutetium from monazite concentrates: (1) the extraction of aqueous solutions of lutetium nitrates with tri- n -butyl-phosphate (using kerosene as an inert solvent); and (2) using cationic exchange resins and solutions of EDTA, the triammonium salt of ethylenediamino-triacetate, as the eluant. The metals are obtained by electrolysis of the fused salts, or by metallothermic reduction of the anhydrous halides (especially the fluoride) with calcium at elevated temperatures. Lutetium is a diamagnetic trivalent element.

The lutetium halides (except the fluoride), together with the nitrates, perchlorates, and acetates, are soluble in water. The hydroxide oxide, carbonate, oxalate, and phosphate compounds are insoluble. Lutetium compounds are all colorless in the solid state and in solution. Due to its closed electronic configuration (4f 14 ), lutetium has no absorption bands and does not emit radiation. For these reasons it does not have any magnetic or optical importance.

SEE ALSO Cerium ; Dysprosium ; Erbium ; Europium ; Gadolinium ; Holmium ; Lanthanum ; Neodymium ; Praseodymium ; Promethium ; Samarium ; Terbium ; Ytterbium .

Lea B. Zinner


Greenwood, Norman N., and Earnshaw, A. (1984). Chemistry of the Elements. New York: Pergamon Press.

Moeller, Therald (1975). "The Chemistry of the Lanthanides." In Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry, ed. J. C. Bailar Jr. Oxford, U.K.: Pergamon.

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