Thursday, November 22, 2012

Scandium APEX Mineral

Scandium (Sc #21) is the next element on the periodic table for my APEX mineral collection. 
Wikipedia Scandium
Scandium Minerals Scandium minerals are very rare.

Thortveitite ((Sc,Y)2Si2O7) with around 24% Scandium is my choice for APEX Mineral.  It is one of my rarest minerals and generally only exists as inclusions in other minerals.  This is my first "trash can" mineral.  These are minerals with varying amounts of interchangeable elements.  In this case, Thortveitite can have varying amounts of Scandium and Yttrium.  
Scandium metal was not even available until 1937.  Only 400 kg are produced each year.

Scandium is not particularly rare. However, no geologic or biologic mechanisms exist that would have created concentrated ores.  Most other metals have concentrated deposits which can be mined.

Scandium compounds are intermediate between those of Aluminium and Yttrium.  So it makes sense that Aluminum alloys are the main use and that the Thortveitite mineral contains both Scandium and Yttrium.
Scandium or its minerals has no historical usage before the 19th century.
Scandium has only one industrial use.  It is alloyed with Aluminum in high value aerospace and cycling products.

Scandium is considered non-toxic and there are no known biological uses.