Scandium

To own any sizable amount of pure metallic scandium is to be in a somewhat exclusive club. This is due to the fact that the worldwide production of pure scandium metal is somewhere on the order of 10kg per year. The reason that so little of it is produced is that its uses are somewhat limited. It is used in some varieties of arc lamps (fancy light bulbs), and aluminum alloyed with a very small amount of scandium becomes a strong-yet-light material used in illogically-expensive bicycle parts and some exotic aircraft (notably the MiG-29), but that’s about it for element number 21’s utility.

It’s still cool stuff, though.

A small sample of scandium metal.

1.14g of metallic scandium.

This sample is comprised of 1.14g of distilled scandium metal. While it doesn’t show well in this photo, the sample has a slight yellow tinge due to the metal’s oxide layer. While scandium compounds are somewhat toxic, the pure metal is safe enough to handle provided that common sense is applied (which, at times, seems a lot to ask of people nowadays).

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