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Electron configuration of Ytterbium

Electron Configuration Of Ytterbium The electron configuration of ytterbium is [Xe] 4f146s2. Ytterbium is a very rare metallic chemical element in the earth’s crust, it belongs to the group of rare earths. It has an atomic number 70 and is symbolized Yb, it is a soft, silvery, malleable, ductile metal; it is sometimes associated with yttrium and is used in certain steels.

On this occasion we will study ytterbium, an element of our periodic table which, like erbium, is found naturally in minerals such as gadolinite, it was discovered by the Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac.

Electron configuration of Ytterbium

Ytterbium Setup

Electron Configuration Of Ytterbium The electron configuration of ytterbium is [Xe] 4f146s2, which would be represented in detail as follows:

1s2 2s2 2s6 3s2 3s6 3d10 4s2 4s6 4d10 5s2 5s6 4f14 5d0 6s2

Its electrons per level are: 2, 8, 18, 32, 8, 2, which indicates that this element has 70 electrons which are distributed as follows:

  • 2 electrons in its first shell.
  • 8 electrons in its second shell.
  • 18 electrons in its third shell.
  • 32 electrons in its fourth shell.
  • 8 electrons in its fifth shell.
  • 2 electrons in its sixth shell.

That is a total of 70 electrons and protons belonging to ytterbium.

Characteristics of ytterbium

Among the main characteristics of Ytterbium are:

  • It is a rare earth which oxidizes in air, reacts slowly in air and is soluble in mineral acids.
  • Has a brilliant silver sheen.
  • It has three allotropes, ie modifications (property present in certain substances or elements to have different atomic structures) called alpha, beta and gamma.
  • Among its allotropes, it has transformation points at -130C and 7950C where each of the forms has differences:

We can observe its beta form at room temperature, it generally behaves like a semiconductor although it has an electrical conductivity quite close to that of metals with pressures close to 16 thousand atmospheres; It has a face-centered crystal structure.

The gamma form has a body-centered crystal structure and occurs at high temperatures.

Physical properties

  • Ytterbium is a chemical element that occurs naturally in a solid state.
  • It has a density of 6,965 Kg-m3.
  • It has a melting point of 1097 K, which is equivalent to 8240 C.
  • They have a boiling point of 1467 K, which is equivalent to 11940 C.
  • It has an enthalpy of fusion of 7.66 kj-mol and an enthalpy of vaporization of 128.9 kj-mol.

Atomic properties

Some of the atomic properties of ytterbium are:

  • An average radius of 175 Pm, where Pm is equal to one billionth of a meter.
  • An electronegativity of 1.1 according to the Pauling scale.
  • three oxidation states.
  • A calculated atomic radius of 222 pm.
  • It has an atomic mass of 173.04.

Location in the periodic table

Electron Configuration Of Ytterbium Ytterbium is found in position number 70 of the periodic table, before lutetium and after thulium, more precisely in period 6 of the f block symbolized by Yb. You will find it in the internal transition elements, practically present in the center of the periodic table with the other elements belonging to the rare earths, also called lanthanides.

Discovery of Ytterbium

Some time later, in 1907, another chemist, this time of French origin who received the parrot name Georges Urbain, separated ytterbia into two components:

  • Neoytterbia, later renamed ytterbium.
  • Lutetia, which today is called lutetium.

Independent of Urban’s work, scientist Carl Auer Von Welsbach isolated these elements, essentially at the same time, and gave them the names alebarnium and cassiopean.

Despite all this, the physical and chemical properties of ytterbium could not be determined until almost pure ytterbium could be produced for the first time, in 1953.


Few uses of this element are known, although it can be seen that:

  • Some alloys of this element are used in dentistry.
  • It can be used to refine certain mechanical properties of stainless steel.
  • It was used, or at least its isotope, as an alternate radiation source when electricity was not available, for portable X-ray machines.

Abundance and obtaining

Ytterbium is mainly found in minerals such as: gadolinite, monazine and xenotime. We mainly get it from monazite sand.

Ytterbium Precautions

Caution is advised when using this item. In case of storage, it must be in closed containers so that they are protected from air or humidity, you may wonder why?

Although ytterbium is a stable element, all components of this element should be treated as if it were a highly toxic element.

Compounds of this element can cause irritation and a burning sensation and can cause teratogenesis, ie deformities in the eyes or skin leaving scars. Not to mention that dust from this element poses an explosion and fire hazard. So far today’s study my chemistry minds, I hope you learned something new. See you next time!

Electron Configuration (April 29, 2022) Electron configuration of Ytterbium. Retrieved from
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