|Light Rare Earth Elements Defined|
Have you ever wondered about what a light rare earth element (LREE) is? Or maybe you have wondered how are LREEs used?
LREEs are to the group of eight elements on the periodic table between lanthanum with the atomic number 57 and gadolinium with the atomic number 64. The LREEs also have increasing unpaired electrons, from 0 to 7. This means that lanthanum has no unpaired electrons and gadolinium has 7 unpaired electrons. LREEs have no paired electrons.
The seven LREEs are:
Lanthanum (La): With the atomic number 57, lanthanum is used in high-end camera lenses, microscopes, telescopes, riflescopes, and binoculars to improve visual clarity. Electric and hybrid vehicles rely on lanthanum nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries.
Cerium (Ce): With the atomic number 58, cerium is widely used in automotive catalytic converters to reduce pollution. Cerium oxide is used to polish glass, metal, gemstones, stemware, computer chips, transistors, and other electronic components.
Praseodymium (Pr): With atomic number 59, praseodymium oxide is combined with zirconium oxide to yield vibrant yellow colour of ceramic tiles and dinnerware, popular in the Mediterranean region. Praseodymium oxide is also used as a catalyst to make to make plastic, polyethylene used in soda bottles, bubble wrap, food plastic wrap, sandwich bags and milk cartons.
Neodymium (Nd): With atomic number 60, neodymium is widely used to form high strength magnets. Neodymium-iron-boron (NeFeB) magnets are why cell phones vibrate in vibrate mode. In fact a thumbnail size, high-strength NdFeB magnet is so strong that when placed on a refrigerator it cannot be removed by hand.
Promethium (Pr): With atomic number 61, promethium is applied on watch hands and dials to make them glow in the dark. Promethium is also used as a starter switch in energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps.
Samarium (Sm): With atomic number 62, samarium is used with cobalt to form high-strength magnets. These magnets are used in many defense applications including servo-motors to adjust the flight control surfaces such as fins on missiles.
Europium (Eu): With atomic number 63, europium is primarily used in phosphors used in pilot display screens and televisions to yield reddish-orange colours. Europium is also used in anti-counterfeiting fluorescent phosphors in Euro banknotes.
Gadolinium (Gd): With atomic number 64, gadolinium is used in contrast agents injected into the patients to enhance the clarity of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Gadolinium-157 is used in nuclear reactor control rods to regulate the fission process.
For more information visit www.REEHandbook.com – The ultimate guide to Rare Earth Elements.