OPEN THREAD 20200110

Basically, all legal free speech is allowed. We will assist the authorities in dealing with illegal speech. You are each other’s moderators. Have fun. And don’t forget to MAGA at nuclear levels.

Citizen U

Day 65 – TERBIUM.

5 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20200110

  1. Before we roll with terbium……long-time followers of this blog will know I had medical issues back a few elements that left me fundamentally unsatisfied with the post on tin. So I’m doing a make-up tin post first.

    First, we can do the usual — atomic number 50. Name comes from Latin “stannum” (which originally meant an alloy of silver and lead, while tin was referred to as “plumbum candidum” or “white lead”. As tin became more commercially important and people had fewer reasons to alloy silver and lead, tin took over the word). The name and symbol can be unexpected at times — it’s sometimes a surprise that stannous fluoride in toothpaste is a tin compound. The word “tin” itself is Germanic, and related words are found in Swedish, Dutch, and the like.

    Tin is one of a few elements that scream when you bend them, the others being niobium, indium, zinc, cadmium, gallium, and frozen mercury.

    Pure tin has two very different forms at human-level temperatures (it has two more over 322F under pressure). One is alpha, or gray tin — which is nonmetallic and brittle. The other is beta, or white tin, which acts like a metal. White tin is the stuff everyone knows and loves. Unfortunately, at low temperatures it tends to spontaneously transform itself into alpha-tin, a phenomenon known as “tin pest”. There are anecdotal tales of this happening to the coat buttons of Napoleon’s troops during his Russia campaign, to organ pipes in unheated German churches, and to Scott’s provisions during the ill-fated “Terra Nova” expedition in Antarctica. And, then, of course, there is the idiom reminding people to keep their brewing equipment in a warm pantry — “tin pest in a teapot.”

    Tin has ten stable isotopes — more than any other element. I’m not usually a fan of isotope discussion, but this will come in handy later. The isotopes, BTW, are 112, 114-120, 122, and 124. The most abundant is 120, which is about a third of all tin in the earth’s crust. Oh, and that reminds me — it’s the 49th most common element in the crust…..between lead (37th) and silver (65th) among the metals of antiquity.

    Tin is traded on the LME — https://www.lme.com/en-gb/metals/non-ferrous/tin/#tabIndex=0 .

    About 253,000 tonnes of tin were mined in 2011, almost half of which in China. OTOH, a substantial amount of tin in commerce has been recycled. About half of all tin is used in solder, with a bunch of the rest used in tin plating, tin chemicals, brass and bronze.

    There is much more to be said about modern tin — it is a fun element that ends up in a number of places — but ancient tin is awesomesauce on steroids.

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  2. Terbium was essentially identified in 1843 by Mosander as a contaminant in Yttrium Oxide. He ended up with a pink solution, a clear solution, and gunk — which he identified as Terbia, Erbia, and Yttria respectively. Ultimately, the pink solution contained erbium, the clear solution contained terbium, and the gunk…….was gunk.

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