Rare Earth Metal - Alfa Chemistry
Rare Earth Metals

Rare Earth Metals

Rare earth metal is a general term for 17 elements of scandium, yttrium and lanthanide in group IIIB of the periodic table of elements, and is often represented by R or RE. Rare earth elements include scandium (Sc), yttrium (Y), lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pr), neodymium (Nd), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), europium (Eu), gadolinium ( Gd), terbium (Tb), dysprosium (Dy), holmium (Ho), erbium (Er), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), and lutetium (Lu). Rare earth elements have excellent magnetic, optical and electrical properties, play an important role in improving product performance and optimizing product structure, and are widely used in chemical metallurgy, petrochemical, ceramic production, glass industry, agricultural production and new materials and other fields.

Rare Earth Metals

Wide applications

  • Metallurgical engineering: The application of rare earths in steel and nonferrous metals is a large and diverse field with broad prospects. Rare earth compounds can be used as additives to improve the properties of metals, such as mechanical, physical and chemical properties. Rare earth fluorides can play the role of refining and desulfurization in the metal smelting process; rare earth silicides can be used as nodulizers to produce a variety of rare earth materials.
  • Petrochemical industry: Rare earth elements can be used to synthesize molecular sieve catalysts in the petrochemical industry, which have the advantages of high activity, good selectivity, and strong resistance to heavy metal poisoning. Rare earth elements can show high-efficiency catalytic performance in many fields and can be widely used in chemical production.
  • Glass ceramics: Rare earth oxides can be used as polishing powders for polishing optical glass, spectacle lenses, picture tubes, oscilloscope tubes, flat glass, plastic and metal dishes. Rare earth oxides can be used in the synthesis of various optical glasses and special glasses to decolorize, reduce the iron content of the glass, and improve the performance of the glass.
  • Agriculture: Rare earth elements can promote plant growth, enhance photosynthesis, promote seed germination and plant development, and can efficiently absorb, transform and utilize nutrients.

Rare earth metal elements are widely used in industrial production, metal smelting, agricultural production and glass production and other fieldsFigure 1. Rare earth metal elements are widely used in industrial production, metal smelting, agricultural production and glass production and other fields

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The purity of the rare earth metal has a significant impact on performance. Most rare earth metals exhibit paramagnetism, such as gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, and erbium. The chemical activity of rare earth metals is very strong, and they lose their metallic luster at room temperature and are easily oxidized into rare earth oxides. Rare earth metals can react with water to varying degrees. Rare earth metals can react with boron, carbon, sulfur, phosphorus, hydrogen, and nitrogen to form corresponding compounds. Rare earth metal alloys such as lanthanum-nickel alloy (LaNi5) have the ability to absorb a large amount of hydrogen and are good hydrogen storage materials.

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