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Terbium Essay, Research Paper


What is Terbium? How and what is Terbium used for in everyday human life? Where is Terbium’s origination point? Many people have never even heard of the element Terbium and you may ask why not? But all these questions and more will be revealed within the body of this essay.

Terbium was discovered in a small Sweden town called Ytterby in the year of 1843, by a man named Carl G. Mosander. But at this time it could not be confirmed as an element, and it took 30 years for it to be confirmed. Named after the town it was found in, Terbium can be found on the periodic table with the symbol of Tb. Its atomic number is 65, which also happens to be the number of electrons found in Terbium and it has an atomic mass of 158.92534 on the dot. Terbium is a silvered colored element and can be found in about 1.1 parts per million of the earth’s crust in the shape of a hexagonal crystal like structure. It is usually extracted from the earth by a process called ion exchange or by another process called the solvent extraction techniques. The process called ion exchange is a reversible chemical reaction between an insoluble solid and a solution, in which ions may be interchanged. The solvent extraction technique is when two substances are dissolved together forming a solution. After this step the Anhydrous Chloride of Fluoride is reduced with Calcium to make Terbium a metal.

Terbium is a very soft yet stable metal. Although it can be cut with an ordinary kitchen knife, the probability of it rusting when in contact with CO2 is very unlikely. The main use for Terbium can be found in an object that most Americans watch each and everyday, their television. Within the television, Terbium is used in the various tubes in your color TV set as an activator of green phosphorus. But not only is Terbium used for televisions but it can also be used in more complex items and chemical combinations. Terbium can also be combined with ZrO2 and used as a Crystal Stabilizer of fuel cells, which operate at elevated temperatures, as well as the use of it in Lasers.

Although the uses for the element of Terbium might be limited, that does not mean that the element itself is an unworthy one. As far as health factors go, there have never been any reports on Terbium being toxic, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t. Since there is little known about Terbium in this state, it should still be handled with care and caution just as you do with all lanthanide elements.

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