Andreas del Rio of Mexico
Necessary for all life.
Named after the Scandinavian goddess Vanadis, vanadium is a soft, shiny, bright silvery-white metal. It is corrosion-resistant, except to most acids, and despite being a soft metal in pure form, it hardens and strengthens other metals in alloys by a tremendous degree. Vanadium-steel alloys are used in armor plating, piston rods, crankshafts and other uses where a very strong metal is needed, such as frames in high-rise buildings and oil drilling platforms. Vanadium is also used in ceramics, glass and dyes as well as a chemical catalyst.
Vanadium is an essential trace element for most species. Vanadium is believed to be important in bone development. Deficiencies in vanadium reduce growth and impair reproduction in rats and chickens.
Role in Life Processes
Necessary for full health of plants and animals.
Vanadium occurs in many minerals in minute quantities. It is not mined from any specific mineral, but rather obtained as a by-product from other mining processes. Vanadium is extracted from magnetite concentrations in layered mafic igneous rocks, mainly in South Africa, and from sandstone uranium deposits in Russia, China and the U.S. It is also recovered from Venezuelan crude oil, where it occurs in small amounts. Some vanadium-bearing minerals include carnotite, descloizite, vanadium sulfide (patronite) and vanadinite.