Periodic Table -> Neodymium
Neodymium DetailsNeodymium Symbol:
NdNeodymium Atomic Number:
60Neodymium Atomic Weight:
144.24What is Neodymium?
(atomic number 60, symbol Nd) is a soft and silvery rare earth metal with a bright, metallic luster. This metal is present in the ore minerals bastnasite and monazite and is not found unmixed with other lanthanides or in metallic form. It is no rarer than copper, nickel, and cobalt. Neodymium is mainly mined in China, and other mining areas are found in Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Brazil, and the United States. The annual world production of neodymium oxide stands at 7,000 tonnes, and the total reserves are estimated at about 8,000,000 tonnes.
Neodymium has different compounds, including hydroxide, sulfides, halides, and carbide. They remain a popular additive to glass and are used in high power applications and in lasers which emit infrared light. The element itself is used in neodymium magnets for computer hard disks, in-ear headphones, professional loudspeakers, and microphones for which strong magnetic field and low magnet volume and mass are required. Neodymium magnets are stronger, lighter, and cheaper than samarium-cobalt magnets. At the same time, they tend to rust, lose magnetism, and are not superior to samarium-cobalt magnets.
Neodymium is useful in cryocoolers because at liquid-helium temperatures, it has a specific heat capacity. Samarium-neodymium dating is used to determine the age relationships of meteorites and rocks. Scanning for isotopes of neodymium makes it possible to predict the strength and size of volcanic eruptions. Large and small volcanic eruptions vary in terms of isotope composition. Scientists look at it to predict the strength of eruptions as to warn residents about their intensity.
The color of glass changes under different lighting conditions due to the element’s sharp absorption capacity. It is green under trichromatic lighting and reddish-purple under yellow incandescent light or daylight. This phenomenon is prized by collectors. Beautiful red color results from the combination of selenium and gold. Iron-containing impurities in silica have to be minimized for the best color.
Neodymium can be found in equipment such as energy-saving lamps, fluorescent lamps, glasses, and color televisions. It is used in lighter flints in alloys. Boron and iron are the most important alloys of the element, and they make excellent permanent magnets. These alloys are used in loudspeakers and computer data storing.
The element is added to didymium glass, which is used in the production of glass blower’s and welder’s goggles. It is also added to glass to create gray, red, and violet colors. Astronomers use glass with neodymium to calibrate spectrometers while other types of glass are added to artificial rubies. Some salts of neodymium are used to color glazes and enamels.
Neodymium is among the most abundant rare earths, second to cerium. However, the element has no biological role, and the amount of neodymium in the human body is very small. Neodymium salts and dust are irritating to the eyes, and soluble salts are slightly toxic when digested. Insoluble salts are non-toxic. The element is dangerous in working environments and can be a threat to the liver. Long-term exposure affects the body because gasses and damps can be inhaled with air. Neodymium accumulates in water soils and soils, resulting in increasing concentrations in soil particles, animals, and humans. The element causes damage to the cell membranes of water animals, affecting their reproductive organs and the functions of the nervous system.
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