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Scandium[Sc] – Element Details, History, Atomic Structure, Facts, Properties, Electronic Configuration, Atomic Spectrum, Uses.


Element 21 of Periodic table is Scandium with atomic number 21, atomic weight 44.95591. Scandium, symbol Sc, has a Simple Hexagonal structure and Silver color. Scandium is a Transition Metal element. It is part of group 3 (scandium family). Know everything about Scandium Facts, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties, Electronic configuration, Atomic and Crystal Structure.

History of Scandium

The element Scandium was discovered by F. Nilson in year 1879 in Sweden. Scandium was first isolated by F. Nilson in 1879. Scandium derived its name from Scandia, the Latin name for Scandinavia.

Nilson split Marignac’s ytterbia into pure ytterbia and a new element that matched Mendeleev’s 1871 predicted eka-boron.

How to Locate Scandium on Periodic Table

Periodic table is arranged by atomic number, number of protons in the nucleus which is same as number of electrons. The atomic number increases from left to right. Periodic table starts at top left ( Atomic number 1) and ends at bottom right (atomic number 118). Therefore you can directly look for atomic number 21 to find Scandium on periodic table.

Another way to read periodic table and locate an element is by using group number (column) and period number (row). To locate Scandium on periodic table look for cross section of group 3 and period 4 in the modern periodic table.

Scandium Facts

Atomic Symbol
Atomic Number
Atomic Weight
Transition Metal
Group in Periodic Table
Group Name
Scandium family
Block in Periodic Table
d -block
Period in Periodic Table
Electronic Configuration
[Ar] 3d1 4s2
Melting Point
1814 K
Boiling Point
3103 K
Electronic Shell Structure
2, 8, 9, 2
CAS Number

Scandium Atomic Structure and Orbital Properties

Scandium atoms have 21 electrons and the electronic shell structure is [2, 8, 9, 2] with Atomic Term Symbol (Quantum Numbers) 2D3/2.

Element Properties

Atomic Number
Number of Protons
Mass Number
Number of Neutrons
Shell structure (Electrons per energy level)
[2, 8, 8]
Electron Configuration
[Ne] 3s2 3p6
Valence Electrons
3s2 3p6
Oxidation State
Atomic Term Symbol (Quantum Numbers)


Atomic Structure of Scandium

Atomic Radius
71 pm (0.71 Å)
Atomic Radius Empirical
71 pm (0.71 Å)
Atomic Volume
22.4134 cm3/mol
Covalent Radius
97 pm (0.97 Å)
Van der Waals Radius
188 pm
Neutron Cross Section
Neutron Mass Absorption

Crystal Structure of Scandium

The solid state structure of Scandium is Simple Hexagonal.

The Crystal structure can be described in terms of its unit Cell. The unit Cells repeats itself in three dimensional space to form the structure.

The unit cell is represented in terms of its lattice parameters, which are the lengths of the cell edges Lattice Constants (a[330.9 pm]b[330.9 pm] and c[527.33 pm]and the angles between them Lattice Angles (alpha, beta and gamma).

The positions of the atoms inside the unit cell are described by the set of atomic positions ( xi, yi, zi) measured from a reference lattice point.

The symmetry properties of the crystal are described by the concept of space groups. All possible symmetric arrangements of particles in three-dimensional space are described by the 230 space groups (219 distinct types, or 230 if chiral copies are considered distinct.

Space Group Name

Space Group Number

Crystal Structure


Simple Hexagonal

Ground State Electronic Configuration of Scandium- neutral Scandium atom

Abbreviated electronic configuration of Scandium

The ground state abbreviated electronic configuration of Neutral Scandium atom is [Ar] 3d1 4s2. The portion of Scandium configuration that is equivalent to the noble gas of the preceding period, is abbreviated as [Ar]. For atoms with many electrons, this notation can become lengthy and so an abbreviated notation is used. This is important as it is the Valence electrons 3d1 4s2, electrons in the outermost shell that determine the chemical properties of the element.

Unabbreviated electronic configuration of neutral Scandium

Complete ground state electronic configuration for the Scandium atom, Unabbreviated electronic configuration

1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d1 4s2

Electrons are filled in atomic orbitals as per the order determined by the Aufbau principle, Pauli Exclusion Principle and Hund’s Rule.

  • As per the Aufbau principle the electrons will occupy the orbitals having lower energies before occupying higher energy orbitals. According to this principle, electrons are filled in the following order: 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d, 5p, 6s, 4f, 5d, 6p, 7s, 5f, 6d, 7p…
  • The Pauli exclusion principle states that a maximum of two electrons, each having opposite spins, can fit in an orbital.
  • Hund’s rule states that every orbital in a given subshell is singly occupied by electrons before a second electron is filled in an orbital.

Regulatory and Health - Health and Safety Parameters and Guidelines

CAS Number
RTECS Number
EU Number
DOT Hazard Class
DOT Numbers
NFPA Fire Rating
NFPA Hazards
Autoignition Point
NFPA Health Rating
NFPA Reactivity Rating

Scandium Chemical Properties : Scandium Ionization Energies and electron affinity.

18.1 kJ/mol

Scandium Physical & Elastic Properties

2.985 g/cm3
Molar Volume
15.061 g/cm3
Young Modulus
Shear Modulus
29 GPa
Bulk Modulus
57 GPa
Poisson Ratio

Scandium Electrical Properties

Electrical Conductivity
1800000 S/m
5.5e-7 m Ω
Superconducting Point

Scandium Magnetic Properties

Magnetic Type
Curie Point
Mass Magnetic Susceptibility
8.8e-8 m3/kg
Molar Magnetic Susceptibility
3.956e-9 m3/mol
Volume Magnetic Susceptibility

Scandium Thermal Properties

Melting Point
1814 K (1540.85°C, 2805.5299999999997 °F)
Boiling Point
3103 K (2829.85°C, 5125.73 °F)
Critical Temperature
Superconducting Point

Use of Scandium

Scandium has huge value in research.  An aluminium-scandium alloy has used in MIG fighter planes, high-end bicycle frames and baseball bats.

106. Seaborgium [Sg]