Chemical Element: hafnium

(Modern Latin: chemical element; from Hafnia, the Latinized name of Copenhagen; metal)

Chemical-element Information

Symbol: Hf
Atomic number: 72
Year discovered: 1923

Discovered by: Dirk Coster (1889-1950), Dutch physicist, and György C. de Hevesty (1885-1966), Hungarian chemist; developed in a Copenhagen laboratory.

  • Hafnium was thought to be present in various zirconium minerals and concentrations for many years prior to its discovery in 1923.
  • It was finally identified in zircon (a zirconium ore) from Norway by means of X-ray analysis.
  • It was named in honor of the city in which the discovery was made, namely, Copenhgen.
  • Most zirconium minerals contain 1% to 5% hafnium and it is their chemical similarity which made their separation difficult.
  • It was originally separated from zirconium by repeated recrystallization of double ammonium or potassium fluorides.
  • Earlier, G. Urbain and A. Dauvillier had given the name “celtium” to the element of atomic number 72, for which Urbain obtained some evidence from X-ray spectra in 1911.

Name in other languages:

French: hafnium

German: Hafnium

Italian: afnio

Spanish: hafnio

Information about other elements may be seen at this Chemical Elements List.

A special unit about words that include chemo-, chem- may be seen here.