Where Is Scandium Found?


Quick Answer

Scandium is a soft, lightweight metal found in minerals such as gadolinite, euxenite and thortveitite. Scandium also occurs as by products in uranium refinement. This white-silvery metal develops either a pinkish or yellowish cast when exposed to the air, and it is responsible for the blue color in aquamarine.

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Full Answer

Scandium lacks the affinity to combine with other types of compounds and is very seldom located in common ore types. Scandium is commonly found with rare earth elements, also called lanthanides. Due to its similarity in properties with rare earths, scandium is classified as a rare earth metal.

Scandium’s specific gravity is very similar to elemental aluminum, but it has a melting point that is much higher than aluminum. It reacts with water by displacing hydrogen and is highly resistant to the effects of corrosion. Scandium contains 24 isotopes, but only the Sc-45 isotope is stable.

Scandium is often used to make lamps of high intensity. The iodides in scandium are combined with mercury vapor to produce lamps with light sources that resemble natural sunlight. The isotope Sc-46 is radioactive and is utilized in crude oils refinery crackers as a tracer. This lightweight metal is produced in large quantities and used as components for halide lamps and as alloy elements.

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