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Erbium, Heavy Rare Earth Elements, HREE, REE Facts, ProEdge Media Corp., InvestorIntel
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LREE : 57 Lanthanum | 58 Cerium | 59 Praseodymium | 60 Neodymium | 61 Promethium | 62 Samarium | 63 Europium | 64 Gadolinium
HREE : 65 Terbium | 66 Dysprosium | 67 Holmium | 68 Erbium | 69 Thulium | 70 Ytterbium | 71 Lutetium | 39 Yttrium
Erbium, Heavy Rare Earth Elements, HREE, REE Facts, ProEdge Media Corp., InvestorIntel
The "In the Pink" Heavy Rare Earth Element Erbium
Tracy Weslosky, Editor, InvestorIntel
Source: REE Handbook

Erbium, REE Collection, ProEdge Media Corp. Have you ever wondered how decorative glass is made with shades of delicate pink or how your sunglass lenses gets its cool pink tint that enhances contrast and depth perception? It's because of erbium. Erbium is named for the small village and mine location in Sweden where the original rare-earth yttrium-bearing mineral was discovered, Ytterby. Erbium is a heavy rare earth element and is a bright silvery metal that is fairly stable in air. Erbium oxide is a pink powder with a melting point of 2,400 °C. Erbium occurs in the Earth's crust at an average concentration of 3 parts per million.

Erbium was discovered in 1843 by a Swedish chemist named Carl Gustav Mosander who also discovered terbium at the same time. Mosander originally named the yellow oxide erbium and the pink oxide terbium. However, the two names were ultimately switched along the way and today erbium refers to the pink oxide and terbium refers to the yellow oxide (Weeks and Leicester, 1968, p. 677).

In a different application erbium is also used to amplify fibre optics allowing the light signal to travel long distances without the need of externally boosting the signal. Erbium is also used to produce cubic zirconia jewelry that is light pink in colour. Aside from its colour yielding applications, erbium oxide is used with zinc oxide to transform brown glass into glass that is almost colourless. Nuclear control rods in pressurized water reactors use erbium alloys to control the process of fission by absorbing thermal neutrons.

The main source of the world's erbium is the clays in the southern provinces of China, primarily Fujian, Guangdong, and Jiangxi, with a lesser number of deposits in Guangxi and Hunan. These deposits are mined by leaching methods (Hedrick, 2010). Erbium is mined from a variety of ore minerals and deposits using various methods.

For more information on the heavy rare earth element erbium, please go to www.REEHandbook.com, the ultimate source for information on rare earth elements.

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