Lutetium

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Lutetium is a chemical element with symbol Lu and atomic number 71. It is considered the first element of the 6th-period transition metals and the last element in the lanthanide series, and is traditionally counted among the rare earths.

Lutetium's position in the periodic table is not entirely agreed on. Some models put it in group 3, others or at the end of the f block with lanthanum and actinium instead, while other types of tables only have scandium and yttrium, leaving lutetium in the f block.

Properties

Chemical

Lutetium resists oxidation in dry air, but will slowly react with water. It will also react with most acids, both organic and inorganic.

Physical

Lutetium is a silvery white metal. It has a meting point of 1652 °C and a boiling point of 3402. Its density is 9.841 g/cm3.

Availability

Lutetium can be purchased from Metallium and eBay.

Preparation

Reducing lutetium salts with calcium will yield lutetium metal.

Projects

  • Make lutetium aluminium garnet
  • Make lutetium tantalate

Handling

Safety

Lutetium reacts with water to release hydrogen, which is flammable.

Luthetium compounds are thought to be non-toxic. At least one compound, Motexafin lutetium has been studied in cancer treatment.

Storage

In closed containers, away from moisture and acids.

Disposal

Since lutetium is expensive, it's best to try to recycle it.

References

Relevant Sciencemadness threads