Reaction of ytterbium with acids
Ytterbium metal dissolves readily in dilute sulphuric acid, forming the colourless aquated Yb(III) ion and hydrogen gas, H2. Yb3+(aq) is expected to be mostly the complex ion [Yb(H2O)9]3+.
2 Yb(s) + 3 H2SO4(aq) 2 Yb3+(aq) + 3 SO42−(aq) + 3 H2(g)
Reaction of ytterbium with air
Ytterbium metal tarnishes slowly in air and burns readily, forming ytterbium (III) oxide, Yb2O3
4 Yb(s) + 3 O2(g) 2 Yb2O3(s)
Reaction of ytterbium with halogens
Ytterbium reacts with all the halogens, forming ytterbium(III) halides.
2 Yb(s) + 3 F2(g) 2 YbF3(s) [white]
2 Yb(s) + 3 Cl2(g) 2 YbCl3(s) [white]
2 Yb(s) + 3 Br2(g) 2 YbBr3(s) [white]
2 Yb(s) + 3 I2(g) 2 YbI3(s) [white]
Reaction of ytterbium with water
Ytterbium reacts slowly with cold water and quickly with hot water, forming ytterbium hydroxide, Yb(OH)3, and hydrogen gas (H2).
2 Yb(s) + 6 H2O(g) 2 Yb(OH)3(aq) + 3 H2(g)