We’re continuing our Transition Metals series by taking a closer look at six more transition metals: Scandium, Titanium, Vanadium, Manganese, Zinc, and Yttrium.
Scandium and Yttrium are both considered rare earth metals.
Since scandium is extracted from ore deposits in only a few mines worldwide, and it is difficult to prepare metallic scandium, it was not considered for its many uses until the 1970s. That’s when it was discovered that adding scandium to aluminum alloys increases usefulness.
Unfortunately the rarity of this elements has limited its applications.
Yttrium was discovered in Sweden in 1787. It is used in LED television displays, lasers, superconductors and medical applications.
Vanadium was discovered in Mexico in 1801. Nearly 85% of the vanadium produced today is incorporated into steel to make it stronger. Vanadium steel is used in axles, gears and many critical mechanical components, surgical tools, jet engines and dental implants.
Manganese is found in minerals with iron. It is essential to iron and stainless steel production. As a component in aluminum alloys, manganese is used to make most beverage cans. Manganese oxide is also used in dry cell and alkaline batteries.
Zinc ores were used to make brass alloy several centuries BC. Modern uses include galvanization of steel and brass and bronze alloys. Zinc compounds are also key ingredients in sunblock.
Titanium is known for its low density, high strength, and resistance to corrosion in seawater. The majority of mined titanium ore is made into titanium dioxide for paints, paper, toothpaste and plastics.
Titanium alloys are used in aircraft, armour plating, naval ships and spacecraft.
Learn more about the transition metals on labnotes.chemistrymatters.com.