Erbium marks, chemical composition

General Characteristics

Erbium is a rare-earth element number 68 of group III of D. I. Mendeleev's table, in which it is designated as Er. It is a soft silvery-white metal. It belongs to the lanthanoid group. Its atomic weight is 167.26. It was discovered in 1843 by Swedish scientist Mosander. He managed to isolate this element from a mineral which was found near the town of Itterby. Erbium is named after this town. Its distribution in the lithosphere is about 3.3 g/t. When extracted from ore, it is concentrated together with other heavy lanthanides. It is obtained by electrolysis of ErCl3 melt together with sodium, potassium and calcium chloride salts.

Physical and chemical properties

Erbium has a density of 9.062 g/cm³. It has a hexagonal lattice with parameters c = 0.55 874 nm and, a = 0.35 588 nm. The melting point reaches 1522 °C, the t° of boiling 2510 °C. The valence is +3. It reacts easily with oxygen and halogens: bromine, iodine, fluorine, chlorine to form salts.

Atomic number of Er. Atomic (molar) mass g/mol Oxidation state Density [g/cm3] Melting point t °С Boiling point t ° C Melting point kJ/kg
№ 67 167,26 2, 3 9,062 1522°С 2510°С 398


It is used in nuclear power, fiber optics and laser optics. It contributes to the activation of phosphorus in the smelting of ferrites and magnetic alloys of iron with nickel and cobalt. Er2 O3 oxide (sometimes borate) mixed with uranium oxide markedly improves power distribution as well as the technical and economic performance and safety of RBMK reactors. Erbium is present in the control rods of nuclear boilers. Like other metals of the lanthanide group, it is produced in the form of circles, wires, sheets , etc. In the manufacture of optical fibers, Er2 O3 oxide is added to quartz melt. Oxide monocrystals are also used in the production of high performance lasers. Er2 O3 oxide is a part of laser glasses, luminophores, special ceramics. Its MPC in the air does not exceed 4mg/m3. Erbium salts are used for melting dyed glass as well as special glasses with high absorption coefficient of infrared rays. Determination of Erbium oxide impurity by spectral method is regulated by GOST 23 862.22-79. The same standard stipulates the method of colorimetric determination of chromium in erbium.


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