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Cerium (Ce): Lanthanides

Cerium (Ce)

What is Cerium?

Cerium is the most abundant of the rare earth metals. Rare earth metals are the elements in Row 6 of the periodic table. The periodic table is a chart that shows how chemical elements are related to each other. The rare earth elements are not really rare. In fact, cerium ranks about number 26 in abundance among elements found in the Earth's crust. Cerium was the first rare earth element to be discovered. Continue reading from Chemistry Explained

The History

Cerium was first identified by the Jöns Berzelius and Wilhelm Hisinger in the winter of 1803/4. Martin Klaproth independently discovered it around the same time.  Although cerium is one of the 14 lanthanoid (aka rare earth) elements it was discovered independently of them. There are some minerals that are almost exclusively cerium salts such as cerite, which is cerium silicate. A lump of this mineral had been found in 1751 by Axel Cronstedt at a mine in Vestmanland, Sweden. He sent some to Carl Scheele to analyse it but he failed to realise it was new element. In 1803, Berzelius and Hisinger examined it themselves and proved that it contained a new element.  It was not until 1875 that William Hillebrand and Thomas Norton obtained a pure specimen of cerium itself, by passing an electric current through the molten cerium chloride. Continue reading from Royal Society of Chemistry

Cerium Facts

Cerium is one of the most abundant of the rare-earth metals.  It is found in several minerals, including allanite or orthrite, monazite, bastnasite, cerite and samarskite. Large deposits of cerium have been found in India, Brazil and in Southern California.

Metallic cerium is obtained through thermal reduction techniques and produces highly pure versions of the element.  Cerium is a component of mischmetal, used in the manufacture of alloys for cigarette lighters.  Cerium oxide is used in incandescent gas mantles, as a glass polishing agent and as a catalyst in self-cleaning ovens.  Cerium is also extensively used in the film and television industry in carbon arc lighting for studio lighting and projector lights. Continue reading from Live Science

Chart of Elemental Properties for Cerium

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