Lutetium: reactions of elements

Reaction of lutetium with air

Lutetium metal tarnishes slowly in air and burns readily to form lutetium (III) oxide, Lu2O3.

4Lu + 3O2 → 2Lu2O3

Reaction of lutetium with water

The silvery white metal lutetium is quite electropositive and reacts slowly with cold water and quite quickly with hot water to form lutetium hydroxide, Ly(OH)3, and hydrogen gas (H2).

2Lu(s) + 6H2O(g) → 2Lu(OH)3(aq) + 3H2(g)

Reaction of lutetium with the halogens

Lutetium metal reacts with all the halogens to form lutetium(III) halides. So, it reacts with fluorine, F2, chlorine, Cl2, bromine, I2, and iodine, I2, to form respectively lutetium(III) bromide, LuF3, lutetium(III) chloride, LuCl3, lutetium(III) bromide, LuBr3, and lutetium(III) iodide, LuI3.

2Lu(s) + 3F2(g) → 2LuF3(s) [white]

2Lu(s) + 3Cl2(g) → 2LuCl3(s) [white]

2Lu(s) + 3Br2(g) → 2LuBr3(s) [white]

2Lu(s) + 3I2(g) → 2LuI3(s) [brown]

Reaction of lutetium with acids

Lutetium metal dissolves readily in dilute sulphuric acid to form solutions containing the colourless aquated Lu(III) ion together with hydrogen gas, H2. It is quite likely that Lu3+(aq) exists as largely the complex ion [Lu(OH2)9]3+

2Lu(s) + 3H2SO4(aq) → 2Lu3+(aq) + 3SO42-(aq) + 3H2(g)

Reaction of lutetium with bases

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