What is erbium?


Quick Answer

Erbium is an element, classed as a lanthanide metal. Number 68 on the periodic table, erbium exists as a solid at room temperature, and can be found in deposits of gadolinite. Erbium was one of three elements discovered in a quarry near Ytterby, Sweden, in 1843.

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Full Answer

Erbium has numerous industrial applications, including its role in the coloring of glasses and glazes. It is used in fiber optic cable as an effective signal amplifier. It has a melting point of nearly 2,800 degrees and can be alloyed with vanadium to produce a compound that is both softer and easier to shape. Erbium also has several uses in the nuclear power industry.

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