Come be in your elements with Exploratorium host and scientific raconteur Ron Hipschman. Follow tales of intrigue and invention, join in dynamic demonstrations, and uncover fascinating connections between individual elements and our collective human experience.
Vanadium, a transition metal prized for tough steel alloys, is present in the human body in minute amounts; its compounds are considered toxic. Vanadium’s compounds appear in different colors depending on its oxidation state. It forms a golden pigment for ceramic glazes, tints glass green or blue, and helps give emeralds their distinctive hue. Beneath the waves, filter-feeding sea squirts concentrate vanadium in green blood cells. The metal itself is silvery and strong: vanadium steel alloys are prized for heat- and shock-resistant tools, engine parts, armor plating, and structural steel.