Thulium: reactions of elements

Reaction of thulium with air

Thulium metal tarnishes slowly in air and burns readily to form thulium (III) oxide, Tm2O3.

4Tm + 3O2 → 2Tm2O3

Reaction of thulium with water

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

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

Reaction of thulium with the halogens

Thulium metal reacts with all the halogens to form thulium(III) halides. So, it reacts with fluorine, F2, chlorine, Cl2, bromine, I2, and iodine, I2, to form respectively thulium(III) bromide, TmF3, thulium(III) chloride, TmCl3, thulium(III) bromide, TmBr3, and thulium(III) iodide, TmI3.

2Tm(s) + 3F2(g) → 2TmF3(s) [white]

2Tm(s) + 3Cl2(g) → 2TmCl3(s) [yellow]

2Tm(s) + 3Br2(g) → 2TmBr3(s) [white]

2Tm(s) + 3I2(g) → 2TmI3(s) [yellow]

Reaction of thulium with acids

Thulium metal dissolves readily in dilute sulphuric acid to form solutions containing the pale green aquated Tm(III) ion together with hydrogen gas, H2. It is quite likely that Tm3+(aq) exists as largely the complex ion [Tm(OH2)9]3+

2Tm(s) + 3H2SO4(aq) → 2Tm3+(aq) + 3SO42-(aq) + 3H2(g)

Reaction of thulium with bases

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