Vanadium is a frequently occurring element and is found in many minerals and ores. This heavy metal is mainly used in the steel industry, because as an alloying element it has a positive influence on most material properties of steel.

Vanadinite | Vanadium mineral

In the steel structure, vanadium forms together with carbon vanadium carbide, which increases strength, wear resistance and ductility. The addition of vanadium supports the formation of small grains in the microstructure, making these steels very easy to weld.

The influence of vanadium on the mechanical properties of steel:

Property Influence Degree
Rust resistance Improvement + 1
Hardness Improvement + 1
Strength Improvement + 1
Yield strength Improvement + 1
Elasticity Improvement + 1
Heat resistance Improvement + 2
Carbide formation Improvement + 4
Wear resistance Improvement + 2
Nitratability Improvement + 1
Strain no bearing 0
Reduction of area no bearing 0
Notched Impact Strength Improvement + 1
Forgeability Improvement + 1
Scaling Decrease - 1
Machinability no bearing 0


Vanadium was discovered twice. First the Spanish mineralogist Andrés Manuel del Rio discovered it in Mexico in 1801. He named the new element "Panchrome" and later "Erythronium". Unfortunately, his discovery fell into oblivion because he was convinced by a chemist that it would only be contaminated chromium.

30 years later, vanadium was rediscovered by Nils Gabriel Selfstöm, who named the element "Freyja" after the Nordic goddess of beauty because of its variety of colours. In old traditions from Iceland, Freyja is nicknamed Vanadis.

See also

Accompanying Elements

Steel does not only consist of iron and carbon. Other elements can influence the properties of steel.

Read more
Alloying Elements

There is a large number of different alloying elements. Each one influences the material properties.

Read more

Here you can find out why aluminium was discovered so late and how aluminium can be produced.

Read more

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