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Element Ytterbium, Yb, Lanthanide


In 1878, Marignac found a new component in the earth then known as erbia and named it ytterbia. He suspected that ytterbia was a compound of a new element he called ytterbium. In 1878, Marignac spectroscopically proved the discovery of ytterbium reporting that he has split terbia in two new earths, terbia proper and ytterbia. Marignac's ytterbia was split by Nilson in 1879 into scandia) and a new ytterbia. Auer von Welsbach independently isolated these elements from ytterbia at about the same time but called them aldebaranium and cassiopeium.

Finally, Nilson's ytterbia was separated by Georges Urbain in 1907 into neo-ytterbia and lutecia, with the elements Neo-ytterbium which was included into the elements list as ytterbium and lutetium.


Lanthanide Ytterbium is one of least widespread rare earth elements with crustal abundance 3.3x10-5 mass % and 5.2x10-7 mg/L in sea water. Along with other rare earth elements it is contained in bastnasite, monazite, fergusonite (bragite), xenotime, gadolinite, thalenite, euxenite and others.


While rare earth elements separation ytterbium concentrates with the heaviest lanthanides such as erbium, thulium and lutetium. Ytterbium compounds free of other REE = rare earth elements can be extracted by ion-exchange chromatography or selective reduction on mercury cathode in alkali environment (LiOH, NaOH) and in the pretense of alkali metal citrate as a complexing agent. Ytterbium metal is produced via Yb2O3 reduction by lanthanum, carbon or electrolyzing its chloride fusion, then refining by sublimation.


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