It is yttrium oxide-europium phosphor which produces the red colour in TV tubes. Other compounds are effective microwave filters, catalysts in ethene polymerisation, and additions in magnets.
The fact that the oxide has a high melting point can add characteristics like shock resistance and low expansion to glass enabling it to have a wide use in the ceramics and glass industry.
As an ingedient in alloys it can strengthen other metals such as chromium, aluminium and magnesium.
This metal was discovered in 1794 by J. Gadolin at Abo, Finland. The principle ore of yttrium is gadolinite. It is a soft, silvery-white metal that is stable in air due to the formation of an oxide layer on the surface. It burns if ignited and is attacked by water and forms hydrogen.
Yttrium is used to produce the red colour in TV screens, X-ray filaments, superconductors and as an ingredient in some super alloys.
Relative atomic mass
17.2 W /m/K