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Europium (Eu): Lanthanides

Europium (Eu)

What is Europium?

Europium has a bright, shiny surface. It is steel gray and has a melting point of 826°C (1,520°F) and a boiling point of about 1,489°C (2,712°F). Europium is the most active of the lanthanides. It reacts quickly with water to give off hydrogen. It also reacts strongly with oxygen in the air, catching fire spontaneously.

Europium is not abundant in the Earth's surface. It is thought to occur at a concentration of no more than about one part per million. That makes it one of the least abundant of the rare earth elements. The study of light from the Sun and certain stars indicates that europium is present in these bodies as well.  Europium is quite expensive to produce, so it has few practical uses. It is used in television tubes and lasers. Continue reading from Chemistry Explained

The History

Europium’s story is part of the complex history of the rare earths, aka lanthanoids. It began with cerium which was discovered in 1803. In 1839 Carl Mosander separated two other elements from it: lanthanum and one he called didymium which turned out to be a mixture of two rare earths, praseodymium and neodymium, as revealed by Karl Auer in 1879. Even so, it still harboured another rarer metal, samarium, separated by Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran, and even that was impure. In 1886 Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac extracted gadolinium, from it, but that was still not the end of the story. In 1901, Eugène-Anatole Demarçay carried out a painstaking sequence of crystallisations of samarium magnesium nitrate, and separated yet another new element: europium. Continue reading from Royal Society of Chemistry

Europium Facts

Europium can be easily molded or shaped and is about as hard as lead. It is the most reactive of the rare earth metals, quickly oxidizing in air and, like calcium, it reacts quickly and vigorously with water. Laser material is one byproduct of europium-doped plastic. The cost of production has been greatly reduced through the development of special processes and ion-exchange techniques. Continue reading from LiveScience

Chart of Elemental Properties for Europium

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Link to Elemental by Tim James in the Catalog
Link to The Periodic Table: A Very Short Introduction by Eric Scerri in the Catalog
Link to Eureka by Chad Orzel in the Catalog
Link to Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey Williams in Hoopla
Link to Superheavy by Kit Chapman in the Catalog
Link to Absolutely Small by Michael D. Fayer in the Catalog
Link to Seven Elements That Changed The World by John Browne in the Catalog
Link to The Elements by Theodore W. Gray in the Catalog
Link to 10 Women Who Changed Science, And The World by Catherine Whitlock in the Catalog
Link to From Arsenic to Zirconium by Peter Davern in the Catalog
Link to Chemistry Demystified by Linda Williams in the Catalog
Link to The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean in the Catalog

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