Aqueous solutions and precipitates of erbium

Erbium only exists in the +3 oxidation state or in the metallic state. Erbium ions are pale pink. Although the color is quite pale, it can be seen easily. Compared to the color of manganese (II) ions, the color of erbium (III) ions is strong.


Oxidation state +3

Below follows a picture of a very slightly acidified solution of erbium (III) chloride, which is clear and pale pink. The color is caused by the Er3+(aq) ions, present in this solution. The concentration of the erbium ion is quite high, in the order of a few mass percents of erbium content.

The right picture shows a precipitate of erbium (III) hydroxide, made by adding a large amount of fairly dilute solution of NaOH to the test tube with the erbium (III) chloride and letting the precipitate settle. The precipitate of erbium (III) hydroxide is very pale pink, almost white. Two pictures of the precipitate are given, the right one nicely shows the pink color, in contrast to a white sheet of paper.






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