The Original Gyroscope
(Ytterby, a village in Sweden near Vauxholm) Yttria, which is an earth containingyttrium, was discovered by Gadolin in 1794. Ytterby is the site of a quarry which yieldedmany unusual minerals containing rare earths and other elements. This small town, nearStockholm, bears the honor of giving names to erbium, terbium, and ytterbium as well asyttrium.
In 1843 Mosander showed that yttira could be resolved into the oxides (or earths) ofthree elements. The name yttria was reserved for the most basic one; the others were namederbia and terbia.
Yttrium occurs in nearly all of the rare-earth minerals. Analysis of lunar rock samplesobtained during the Apollo missions show a relatively high yttrium content.
It is recovered commercially from monazite sand, which contains about 3%, and frombastnasite, which contains about 0.2%. Wohler obtained the impure element in 1828 byreduction of the anhydrous chloride with potassium. The metal is now produced commerciallyby reduction of the fluoride with calcium metal. It can also be prepared by othertechniques.