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21 Uses of Lanthanides

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These are series of chemical elements which consist of fifteen metallic chemical elements which comprise of atomic numbers from fifty-seven, through to seventy-one. Lanthanides are elements which are rare to find, hence giving them the name of unique earth elements. One property that determines the reaction of lanthanides with other elements is referred to as basicity. This is the measure of the simplicity at which an atom will misplace its electrons. This, in other words, means that as the basicity decreases, the number of atoms increases significantly. In addition to that, these fifteen metallic elements have a magnetic characteristic, which is a significant magnetic property that occurs as a result of the fact that each electron that is moving is micromagnetic. Consequently, lanthanides have electrons which are paired, meaning that they do not have any unpaired electron.


1. Cigarette lighters

Cigarette and gas lighters are made using lanthanides. The most recognized use of lanthanides involved a blend of cerium and iron, which resulted in a bright spark when hit, making this spark effective for use as flint in cigarette and gas lighters.

2. Removal of Sulphur and oxygen impurities

Lanthanides are also used in the removal of Sulphur and oxygen impurities from systems, resulting in a clear and contamination-free Sulphur and oxygen.

3. Oil refinery industries

Lanthanides have been used to speed up the chemical reaction of compounds in oil refinery industries. They speed up the conversion of crude petroleum into consumer products such as gasoline, which are pure and effective for immediate use.

4. Color television

Colored televisions get their color by the help of europium and yttrium oxides which aid in the production of the red colors on television screens. These compounds are part of lanthanide.

5. Street lights

At times you can wonder where streetlights get their light from. Well, lanthanide compounds are used in searchlights, street lights, and lighting in the sports stadium.

6. Ceramics

Ever wondered why some ceramics are colored and others are plain? Well, ceramics manufacturing industries use lanthanides to color glasses and ceramics.

7. Cameras

Glass lenses, also known as optical lenses, are made with lanthanum oxide, and the lenses can also be used in binoculars and cameras.

8. Reduce glare

Bright light tends to be uncomfortable and harms the eyes. Lanthanides are also used in reducing glare such as in bright television and in glass, in addition to that, cerium oxide, a component found in lanthanide is used in polishing glass.

9. Nuclear applications

Lanthanides have a variety of nuclear applications because of its ability to absorb neutrons and have been used in rod control which has been used in regulating atomic reactors.

10. Anti-knock agent

Cerium, a compound among the rare earth elements, is found in jet engines and fuel additives because of its reasonably useful function as an anti-knock agent in gasoline tanks.

11. Laser lamps

Samarium, an element which makes up the lanthanide group, is used in making laser lamps and creates electromagnets when alloyed with cobalt.

12. Microwave applications

Samarium has cobalt magnets that are much powerful as compared to other iron magnets. They have the ability to remain magnetic even at high temperatures, making them the best to be used in microwave applications.

13. Catalyst

These are compounds that speed up the rate of chemical reactions. Cerium (III) oxide is used in cleaning the inside of the walls of the oven to remove and prevent the buildup of the residues that result from cooking.

14. Printing bank Euro notes

Europium, one of the elements that make up lanthanides is used in the printing of euro notes. This is because this compound glows under red light and forged or fake currency can be easily detected when the euro notes have been passed through the red light. This helps in the prevention of fraud and currency reduction, which usually occurs when fake currency is in circulation.

15. Natural light production

Apart from the printing of bank euro notes, europium is also used in low energy light bulbs to give more natural light into the room by balancing the cold and the warm lights.

16. Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Gadolinium, another compound present in the lanthanide elements, is used in hospitals, especially in the detection and diagnosing of cancerous tumors, using the Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine.

17. Radioactivity

When promethium is radioactively decayed, the resultant factor is used to make a phosphor light which is then converted into electricity by a solar cell.

18. Polymerization

Neodymium oxide and nitrate are used to speed up the chemical reactions in the polymerization process.

19. Glass welding

Neodymium is an element of didymium glass which is used for making special google glasses used in welding.

20. Laser pointers

These are pointers that are used when performing eye surgery, in treatment of skin cancers and cosmetic surgery.

21. Projectors

Praseodymium, alongside with other lanthanide elements, is used in carbon electrodes for the lighting and projections in the studio.

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