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General Info
Atomic Symbol Atomic symbol::Sc
Atomic Number Atomic number::21
Atomic Weight Atomic weight::44.96 g/mol
Chemical series Transition Metals
Appearance Silver and white metallic solid
Sample scandium.jpg
Group, Period, Block 3, 4, d
Electron configuration [Ar] 4s2 3d1
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 9, 2
Electron shell scandium.png
CAS number CAS number::7440-20-2
Physical properties
Phase Solid
Density Density::2.989 g/ml
Melting point Melting point::1541 °C
Boiling point Boiling point::2836 °C
Isotopes of Scandium
iso NA half-life DT DE (MeV) DP
44Sc syn 58.61h IT 0.2709 44Sc
44Sc syn 58.61h γ 1.0,1.1,1.1 44Sc
44Sc syn 58.61h ε - 44Ca
45Sc 100% 45Sc is stable with 24 neutrons.
46Sc syn 83.78d β- 0.3569 46Ti
46Sc syn 83.78d γ 0.889,1.120 -
47Sc syn 3.3492d β- 0.44, 0.60 47Ti
47Sc syn 3.3492d γ 0.159 -
48Sc syn 43.67d β- 0.661 48Ti
48Sc syn 43.67h γ 0.9,1.3,1.0 -
All properties are for STP unless otherwise stated.

[1] Scandium is a silvery-white transition metal located in group 3 of the periodic table. It possesses the atomic symbol of Sc and has extremely high melting and boiling points. Upon exposure to oxygen, scandium develops a new appearance with the color of yellow or pink. Scandium is abundant throughout the earth's crust, however it can only be discovered in small quantities. It is found in minerals with other elements and is extremely difficult to extract as well as isolate. Along with its presence in the earth, an ample amount of scandium occurs in outer space in the sun and differing stars. The existence of scandium was predicted by Mendeleev first and the actual element was later found by a chemist named Lars Nilson. Scandium can be used in everyday materials such as sporting goods and more. Its main and most prominent use is in the corporation of aerospace, where it is combined with aluminum to produce an alloy that is used in the making of certain aircraft.


Scandium in its metallic solid form

Scandium is a somewhat rare element among the transition metals. It is located in period 4 and group 3 on the periodic table. It is a soft metal, having a color that is a mix between silver and white. When introduced to air, the color can appear somewhat pink or yellow tinted.[2] The properties of scandium are closely related to lanthanides and to the properties of rare elements such as yttrium and aluminum. Scandium readily dissolves in acids and it is also relatively dense, possessing a density of 2.989 grams per cubic centimeter. Its melting point is 1,538 degrees Celsius and its boiling point is around 2,800 degrees Celsius.[3] The atomic mass is 44.95.

Scandium has small ions, which permits it to develop chemical reactions with elements such as magnesium and zirconium.[4] Although it is non-toxic to humans in its elemental form, precautions must be taken when scandium is present in the environment because of the chance of breathing in its gases. This inhalation of the gas in the air can be harmful to the lungs as well as the liver of the human body and is said to occasionally have carcinogenic (any material consumed that can result in cancer) effects in some of its compounds. Scandium does not play any major parts in organic life and only tiny quantities are involved in food.[5]


Scandium that has been exposed to oxygen with a tinted yellow color as a result.

Although it is relatively sufficient in nature, Scandium is considered a rare element because it can only be found in small quantities and is difficult to extract by itself. Scandium occurs in the earth, bonded with other elements in compounds like aluminum and yttrium and must be isolated in order to achieve its pure form. It can be extracted from compounds through crystallization (the process in which atoms are hardened into crystals) and other complicated methods.[6]Scandium can be found in the crust of the earth, often present in rare minerals such as gadolinite, euxenite, and thortveitite, as well as aluminum phosphate.[7]It can be located in various regions around the world like Scandinavia and China as well as within some mining industries in the United States. In outer space, scandium is even more abundant in stars and the sun.

Dmitri Mendeleev, the founder of the periodic table, predicted the placement of scandium on the periodic table, but did not discover the element itself. By observing the location of the element in the periodic table, Mendeleev was able to foresee new types of elements that had not yet been discovered. However, in order to actually find this unknown element, another chemist, known as Lars Nilson, began to research minerals. He first identified scandium mixed with oxygen in 1879 during his inspection of the minerals euxenite and gadolinite. He named the element after Scandinavia, the area in which he was born. The metal of scandium was later isolated in 1937.[8]


Scandium is used in the production of aircrafts

Scandium can be used in various everyday and common appliances, ranging from small to very large devices. Several of these uses include sports materials like bicycle frames, lacrosse sticks, and baseball bats. Powerful lamps can also be created through the mixture of scandium with sodium iodide, producing a light that resembles sunlight.[9] Scandium has also been used for waxing glass and during processes in which guns are made.

Another major application of scandium is its role in the field of aerospace (the industry centered around the fabrication of space crafts, aircrafts, missiles, and other objects related to aviation). Scandium is mixed with aluminum which creates an alloy. The combination of scandium with aluminum strengthens the aluminum and as a result the alloy is very powerful. These alloys are also relevant in aerospace due to their necessity in the production of certain fuel cells.[10]


  1. Barbalace, Kenneth. Periodic Table of Elements - Scandium - Sc Environmental 1995-2017. Web. Accessed May 22, 2017.
  2. Periodic Table of Elements: LANL Los Alamos National Laboratory. Web. Accessed 5 March 2017. Unknown Author.
  3. SCANDIUM Chemistry Explained. Web. Accessed 5 March 2017. Unknown Author.
  4. Duyvesteyn, Willem P.C. and Putnam, George F. White Paper Scandium EMC Metals Corp.. Web. May, 2014.
  5. Scandium - Sc Web. Accessed May 22, 2017. Unknown Author.
  6. Extraction of scandium from its ores Google. Web. Accessed May 21, 2017. Unknown author.
  7. Vulcan, Tom. Scandium, A Rare Earth That’s Not Really A Rare Earth? Web. Published August 3, 2011.
  8. Scandium Chemistry explained. Web. Accessed May 21, 2017.
  9. Uses of Scandium Want to Know it. Web. Published August 16, 2011. Unknown Author.
  10. Mukherjee, Bidisha. Scandium Uses Buzzle. Web. Last-modified October 10, 2011.