Yttrium is a rare earth metal with an atomic number of 39 and the chemical symbol Y. It is a transition metal on the periodic table and possesses a metallic silver luster. It is ductile and moderately reactive and also has a high melting point. Yttrium is never found in nature by itself. Instead, it naturally combines with other elements, so the yttrium must be purified from the compounds.
Humans are constantly utilizing this element for many reasons. Yttrium emits intense light under certain conditions, so the element is utilized in lights and screens such as those in TVs, phones, and light bulbs. Because of its glowing properties, yttrium is also often used in red phosphors and fluorescent lamps. Yttrium is often found in lasers, superconductors, and as catalysts in chemical reactions. Yttrium has proven to be cheaper and easier to work with than many other elements. For example, yttrium has now replaced platinum as a component of fuel cells because it is more cost-effective. Uses for yttrium have even been found in the medical field, such as fighting cancers because of the radioactive characteristics of some of the isotopes.
Yttrium is an element that humans are constantly using. The deposits of yttrium on land are depleting because humans consume it frequently. Humankind is forced to rely on seabed mining to get access to the yttrium it requires. While this type of mining seems like a viable option, issues come along with the underwater extraction of yttrium. The entire process can have many negative environmental impacts like the release of sediment plumes and the potential introduction of pollutants into the marine ecosystem.
By Vishnu P.