Y Element

In the field of chemistry, the periodic table consists of several bizarre yet fascinating elements. Today we will learn about such components called y elements in the periodic table. The chart includes the account of each element known to us on this planet. It numbers up to one hundred and eighteen elements in total. The chart divides into seven periods and eighteen groups with two separate rows for lanthanoids and actinoids. Each group represents the elements with similar properties to one another. It is the most genius and concise way yet to organize all the items. If you look carefully into group three and period five, you will notice a y element. So let us find the answer to what is y in the Periodic table? We are going to study this element in detail. 

Yttrium Element

So to answer the question, what is the Y element in the Periodic table? The Y is the symbol of an element in the periodic table known as the yttrium. Otherwise, it also falls into the category of rare earth elements. It has an atomic number of 39 and a standard atomic weight of 88.905. The element has a metallic silvery-white appearance, and it is very much similar to lanthanides. More often than not, we find yttrium in combination with lanthanides. It is also one of the elements in the category of transition elements, along with some essential elements like iron and silver. We can never find them as free elements in nature; instead, they are present in the form of stable isotopes. It is the only isotope in the earth’s crust with stability. We use yttrium in several industries and products such as superconductors, lasers, electrodes, television displays etc.  

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Yttrium first came into being after a scientist named carl axel Arrhenius gave proof of its existence in 1787. During his exploration of a quarry in a small town called Ytterby, Sweden, he came across a black rock. He then gave the sample to a chemist named Johan Gadolin for analysis thinking of a new mineral. Gadolin extracted the yttrium from the sample, and hence the scientists went on naming this mineral yttrium after the name of the town. In the 18th century, one scientist named Carl Gustaf further went on examining the mineral and uncovered three oxides.  These oxides are erbia, terbia, and yttria commonly known as today yttrium oxide, terbium oxide, and erbium oxide today. Even after an early discovery in the 18th century, it was not until the last few decades since its widespread use in several fields. Not after knowing what is y in the Periodic table? Let’s write the yttrium electron configuration.

Yttrium Electron Configuration

We all know that the atomic number of yttrium is 39. It has trivalency, i.e. its valency is three. Now let us write its yttrium electron configuration. 


Generally, yttrium electronic configuration is [Kr]4d¹5s².

Yttrium commonly has an oxidation state of +3 since it gives three valence electrons. Furthermore, it forms several compounds such as oxalate, hydroxide, and fluoride that are insoluble in water. And compounds such as chloride, sulfate, bromide etc. have high solubility in water. Since its d and f shells have a shortage of electrons the yttrium ion is colourless. 

Yttrium Uses

Although there is a plethora of yttrium uses in the industry, we will look at a few of the most significant yttrium uses.    

  • Way before modern televisions came into existence. The flat-screen TVs were the trend. There were large cathode tubes inside these TVs to project the image. There was a rigorous use of yttrium to get the red colour on these televisions.

  • The structure of zirconia varies with temperature; hence yttrium is mixed with zirconia to form an alloy that helps stabilize its structure. 

  • In the automobile industry, it acts as an electrolyte in the exhaust systems.

  • It is often brought to use in the treatment of cancer and some other diseases. 

  • There are various other sectors, such as the production of superconductors, infrared layers, synthetic garments, and many more.

Properties of Yttrium

Since we know that yttrium is a rare earth element, it is also a precious metal with metallic silver appearance. The element is soft and falls under the category of high crystalline metals. Its electronegativity is less relative to the elements above it in the group. Also, the elements that are below yttrium have more electronegativity. It appears in the d-block and 5th group of the periodic table. Besides being a unique element, it forms both soluble and insoluble compounds.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Similarities Between Lanthanides and Yttrium?

Lanthanides and yttrium are very much similar to one another. It is so identical that previously it was listed in the lanthanides group(rare earth element). Its resemblance is more in line with the elements in the lanthanides group rather than its group. If we talk about chemical properties or reactivity, then it has the same reaction order as lanthanides, it has several other similarities as well such as almost the same size, similar behaviour, similar atomic radius, close atomic number etc. There is only one significant difference between them that is yttrium’s trivalency.

2. What is the Density of the Yttrium and its Sources?

The standard density of yttrium is 4.47 gram per cubic centimetres. Besides the place of discovery of this element, it is also available in several countries. Some of the major producers are India, Australia, China, Malaysia, and Russia. The most recent discovery of this element is on an island called Minamitori island in japan. Rare earth metals are available in vast deposits on this island. It is only available in the form of alloys or compounds.