Rare earth metals – a group of 17 elements, including scandium, yttrium, lanthanum and lanthanides (cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium)
Rare-earth elements show a great similarity between chemical and some physical properties, which is explained by the almost identical structure of the external electronic levels of their atoms. All of them are silvery-white metals, while all have similar chemical properties (the most characteristic oxidation state is +3). Rare-earth elements are metals, they are obtained by reduction of the corresponding oxides, fluorides, anhydrous salts electrolysis and other methods.
In 1794, the Finnish chemist Juhan Gadolin, researching ore samples near the Swedish town of Ytterby (in the future rare earth elements yttrium (Y), terbium (Tb), erbium (Er) and ytterbium (Yb) were named after this village), discovered the of that “rare earth”, which I called yttrium at the place of find.
Later, the German chemist Martin Klaproth divided these samples into two “lands”, for one of which he left the name yttrium, and the other called cerium (in honor of the small planet Ceres discovered in 1801).
A little later, the Swedish scientist K. Mosander managed to isolate from the same sample several more “lands”. All of them turned out to be oxides of new elements, which were called rare-earth ones. Together by 1907, chemists discovered and identified a total of 16 such elements.
Statistics and analytics for rare earth metals https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nmic/rare-earths-statistics-and-information
|Symbol||Element name||Name origin|
|Sc||Scandium||in honor of Scandinavia|
|Y||Yttrium||in honor of the Swedish village Ytterby|
|La||Lanthanum||from. Greek “secretive”|
|Ce||Cerium||in honor of the small planet Ceres|
|Pr||Praseodymium||from the Greek “Green twin”, because of the green line in the spectrum|
|Nd||Neodymium||from the Greek “New twin”|
|Pm||Promethium||on behalf of the mythical hero Prometheus, who stole fire from Zeus and passed it on to people.|
|Sm||Samarium||by the name of the mineral Samarskite, which was discovered|
|Eu||Europium||in honor of Europe|
|Gd||Gadolinium||in honor of Juhan Gadolin|
|Tb||Terbium||in honor of the Swedish village Ytterby|
|Dy||Dysprosium||from the Greek “Hard to reach”|
|Ho||Holmium||in honor of Stockholm|
|Er||Erbium||in honor of the Swedish village Ytterby|
|Tm||Thulium||from the old name of Scandinavia|
|Yb||Ytterbium||in honor of the Swedish village Ytterby|
|Lu||Lutetium||from the ancient Roman name of Paris|
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