Periodic Table -> Cerium
Cerium DetailsCerium Symbol:
CeCerium Atomic Number:
58Cerium Atomic Weight:
140.12What is Cerium?
Cerium (Ce, atomic number 58)
is a soft, silvery metal, which was named after the dwarf planet Ceres. The planet itself was discovered 2 years earlier. Cerium comprises around 0.0046 percent of the Earth's crust, making it the most often found rare metal on the planet. Minerals such as monazite and bastnasite contain cerium. Monazite is a reddish-brown phosphate mineral, usually found in small and rare crystals. Lanthanum, silica, uranium, thorium, and helium are among the elements found in this mineral. The last can be extracted by heating the mineral.
Bastnasite is a carbonate-fluoride mineral that dates back to 1838. It was first found in Riddarhyttan, Vastermanland, Sweden. There are also abundant deposits of it in the Zagi Mountain region in Pakistan. Bastnasite is found in alkali granite and syenite. Monazite, which is a phosphate mineral, and bastnasite are the main sources of rare earth elements such as cerium. The formula of the mineral is made of yttrium, lanthanum, and cerium, while bastnasite is officially subdivided into three minerals.
Cerium is a metal with the appearance of iron, but it is soft and malleable. It has an extremely long liquid range, meaning that it retains liquid form within a very wide temperature range. Only the elements neptunium and thorium have longer liquid ranges than cerium
Cerium is notable for its variable electronic structure, which results in dual valency states. This means that the volume changes dramatically when the element is subjected to high pressure or low temperature.
The element was discovered in Sweden by Wilhelm Hisinger and Jons Jakob Berzelius in 1803. It was discovered independently in Germany that same year. At the time of discovery, it was not possible to isolate the metal because the technology available was not that advanced, and cerium was much too electropositive.
With the advent of electrochemistry, the element was finally isolated. However, it contained less than half of what is known as pure cerium today. Perfectly pure cerium was not obtained until the end of the 1830s, when the chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander managed to remove lanthana and didymia, which are two components of the cerium compound.
Cerium is produced by crushing and grinding mineral compounds and treating them with concentrated sulfuric acid. In this way, water-soluble sulfates are created. The acidic particles here are partially neutralized, thorium is removed from the solution, which is then treated to convert the rare earths to their insoluble oxalates. They are transformed into oxides and dissolved in nitric acid. This way, cerium, a major component, is isolated.
Most importantly, what purposes does cerium serve and what are its commercial applications? It is most often used as a catalytic converter to limit the emissions of carbon oxide in exhaust fumes from cars and other vehicles. Cerium oxide is added to diesel fuels to serve this purpose. Cerium is also added to enamel and glass to change their color. In self-cleaning ovens, it is used as a hydrocarbon catalyst and is also put into oven walls and used in petroleum refining. In addition, cerium is used in glass polishing powders and in screens and fluorescent lights. Ceric sulfate is another compound of cerium, which has application in the analysis of chemical processes. Other compounds of cerium are used to remove glass color and to produce some types of glass.
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