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Scandium

What Is Scandium?

Scandium is a silvery-white transition metal and is part of the rare earth element group extracted from uranium ores. It is a soft metal that obtains a pinkish or yellowish tinge when exposed to air and is vulnerable to weathering. It does however have a high melting point, is lightweight and very strong.

What Is Scandium Used For?

Scandium is primarily used in aluminium alloys to create sporting equipment like baseball bats, lacrosse sticks, bicycles, golf clubs and even guns. There is speculation that aluminium-scandium alloys can be used in the manufacturing of fuel cells.

Scandium is being used in the design of components for aircraft and as a tracing agent in oil refinery pipelines. Scandium is used in commercial light bulbs and is added to mercury vapour lamps that emit high intensity light, closely resembling natural sunlight. It is widely used during film and TV production and lighting up football stadiums.

Where is Scandium Produced?

While Madagascar and Norway have large deposits of scandium minerals, they are not being mined. Production occurs as a by-product from the extraction of other metals in only three mines; Kola Peninsula in Russia, Bayan Obo in China and Zhovti Vody in the Ukraine. The world production is only 2 tonnes per year.

Conclusion

Scandium is a rare earth metal from the transitional metal group. It is a soft but strong metal with a high melting point that is mostly used with aluminium alloys in the manufacturing of sporting equipment, aircraft, light bulbs and future predicted use in fuel cells.

Only three mines produce scandium as a by-product from other metal extractions and these mines are in China, Russia and the Ukraine.


If you would like to learn more about minerals and mining visit our Mining and Metals page.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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