Neodymium, pronounced nee-o-dim-ee-um, is a chemical element denoted by the symbol Nd and atomic number of 60.
1. Carl Auer von Welsbach, an Australian chemist discovered it in 1885, it is present in the ore minerals monazite and bastnäsite. However it is not found naturally and has to be refined for further use.
2. The name neodymium is devised from the Greek word ‘neos’ meaning new and ‘didymos’ meaning twin. The reason it was given that name was because it was separated from Praseodymium, which in turn means green twin.
3. A soft silvery material, it gets oxidized in air, it’s classified as ‘rare earth’ and most of the neodymium is mined in China. The first commercial use of this element was in glass dyes in 1927 and is still a popular additive. It has a reddish purple tinge to it, which varies based upon the lighting conditions. It is also used to make neodymium magnets, which are the most powerful magnets known to mankind. These magnets are widely used in speakers, microphones, computer hard disks and in ear headphones. Larger Magnets are used in high powered magnets and generators.
4. Other Applications of Neodymium include; its use in cyrocoolers since it has a huge heat capacity, China uses it as fertilizer as well since it promotes plant growth. Samarium-neodymium dating is used to determine the age relationship of rocks and meteorites, the size and strength of volcanic eruptions can be determined by scanning for neodymium isotopes.
5. Neodymium Doped Lasers, have neodymium as gain material for infrared wavelengths, while neodymium doped crystals produce high-powered infrared laser beams which are converted to use in hand held laser pointers.
6. Neodymium glass has many other applications to it, its used in astronomical applications to make sharp bands to calibrate spectral lines, its also used for making the protective goggles that welders and glass blowers use. It’s even used in photographic applications for making filters to filter out the yellow hues from incandescent lighting.
7. Incandescent light bulbs have neodymium in them as well to produce light more closer to sunlight. What more, they are used in rear-view mirrors of cars as well to reduce glare. And, neodymium salts are also used as a colorant for enamels.
8. Neodymium compounds include:
· oxides: Nd2O3
· sulfides: neodymium(II) sulfide – NdS, neodymium(III) sulfide – Nd2S3
· nitrides: neodymium(III) nitride – NdN
· hydroxide: neodymium hydroxide Nd(OH)3
· phosphide: neodymium phosphide NdP
· carbide: neodymium carbide Nd4C3
· nitrate: neodymium nitrate Nd(NO3)3
9. However, neodymium is not a very safe element to play around with, Neodymium metal dust is explosive, neodymium compounds are said to have moderate levels of toxicity. Neodymium dust and salts are prone to cause eye irritation, and breathing the dust can cause lung to become clogged, and can cause liver damage if you are constantly exposed to it. It acts as an anticoagulant as well in the blood stream.
10. Neodymium is available commercially so its not necessary to make it in the laboratory, moreover it is most abundantly found in crustal rocks. Although Rare Earth Magnet Supplier, it is found in abundance, though the reason it being classified as it is because it is very difficult to separate it from other metals.