Key Facts about Vanadium

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Vanadium, a critical raw material for many industrial applications, has been found recently in sediment samples collected from the Gulf of Khambhat in Gujarat.

About Vanadium:

  • It is a chemical element with the symbol "V" and atomic number 23.
  • It is a silver-gray, ductile, and malleable metallic element.
  • It is harder than most metals and exhibits good corrosion resistance against alkalis and acids.
  • History:
    • It was discovered (1801) by the Spanish mineralogist Andrés Manuel del Río, who named it erythronium but eventually came to believe it was merely impure chromium.
    • The element was rediscovered (1830) by the Swedish chemist Nils Gabriel Sefström, who named it after Vanadis, the Scandinavian goddess of beauty and youth.
    • The English chemist Henry Enfield Roscoe first isolated the metal in 1867 by hydrogen reduction of vanadium dichloride.
  • Occurrence:
    • Found combined in various minerals, coal, and petroleum, vanadium is the 22nd most abundant element in Earth’s crust. 
    • It is found in over 60 different minerals, including vanadinite, carnotite, roscoelite and patronite.
    • The largest resources of vanadium minerals are found in South Africa and Russia.
  • Leading Producers:  China, South Africa, and Russia.
  • Applications:
    • Alloys:
      • One of the primary uses of vanadium is as an alloying element in steel and other metals.
      • Vanadium steel, for example, is known for its strength, toughness, and ability to maintain hardness at high temperatures. It is commonly used in tools, cutlery, and structural materials.
    • In Vanadium Flow Batteries (VFBs), vanadium is used to create a reliable, safe and stable solution for the storage of renewable energy. 
    • Chemical Catalysts: Vanadium compounds are used as catalysts in various chemical reactions, such as the production of sulfuric acid.
    • Nuclear Applications: Vanadium is used in some nuclear reactors as a structural material and neutron moderator.
    • In the medical sphere, vanadium is used to treat a number of ailments, including diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.


Key Facts about Gulf of Khambhat:

  • It is an inlet of the Arabian Sea along the west coast of India, in the state of Gujarat. 
  • Earlier, it was known as the Gulf of Cambay
  • Stretching for about 80 miles, it divides the Kathiawar Peninsula from the south-eastern part of Gujarat.
  • Rivers: The Narmada, Tapti, Mahi, and Sabarmati rivers drain into it.
  • Geography:
    • It is a relatively shallow and enclosed body of watercharacterized by its tidal movements and extensive mudflats.
    • It is known for having one of the highest tidal ranges in the world, with tides that can rise and fall dramatically.
    • There are some coral reefs around small inlets in the western part of the Gulf.


Q1) What is Ductility?

Ductility is a mechanical property of materials that describes their ability to undergo plastic deformation or change in shape without breaking when subjected to tensile forces. In simple terms, ductility measures how easily a material can be stretched or elongated without fracturing. It is the opposite of brittleness, which refers to a material's tendency to fracture when subjected to stress.

Source: After lithium in Kashmir, rare metal vanadium, key for batteries, found off Gujarat coast