Rare earth metals in the industrial sector

Known for their magnetic and electrochemical properties, these components enhance the performance of various industrial equipment with minimal weight and emissions. Furthermore, they offer superior efficiency, durability, performance, and speed to several pieces of equipment used in many industries.
By David Manney, L&S Electric Inc. September 20, 2017

In most modern technologies rare earth metals are now used for a broad range of applications.

Known for their magnetic and electrochemical properties, these components enhance the performance of various industrial equipment with minimal weight and emissions. Furthermore, they offer superior efficiency, durability, performance, and speed to several pieces of equipment used in many industries.

With the use of rare earth elements, technologies, support economic growth while improving the standards of living of people throughout the world.

Rare Earth Metals

The following are among the different rare earth elements used in many applications, particularly electric motors. These metals apply to other industries such as medicine, telecommunications, transportation, and aviation, among several others. Discover their key features, as well as the unique benefits of each metal.

LanthanumInfographic: Rare Earth Metals. Image Courtesy: L&S Electric.

Lanthanum comes with a silver-white color and is the most reactive of all rare earth metals. This metal is often used in telescope and camera lenses, as well as in producing malleable steel. Some industries also use this element in petroleum refining and wastewater treatment, to name a few.

Praseodymium

In earlier times, artisans used praseodymium in ceramics to give products a yellow-orange stain color. With use in many applications, praseodymium produces metals with superb strength used in aircraft engines.

Scandium

Various products available in the market use scandium, or a type of metal that is non-lanthanide by nature. Scandium is often used in energy-efficient bulbs, or lamps, and in televisions. As for its industrial applications, it gives metal compounds a stronger and denser quality. Based on the researchers, in Madagascar and Scandinavia, this metal comes with a few concentrated sources including;

  • Euxenite
  • Gadolinite
  • Thortveitite.

Cerium

Cerium is another type of metal used in industries and quickly oxidizes in the air. It is usually utilized in automotive exhaust systems as it helps reduce emissions. Plus, cerium is also useful in polishing glass and is compatible with magnets, iron, aluminum alloys, magnesium, and specific types of electrodes.

Terbium

The most distinct feature of terbium is its soft quality that makes it easy to cut and use. A typical application is applying terbium to color displays and compact fluorescent lighting.

Terbium is also is an additive to several types of permanent rare earth magnets, which enhances them when used under extreme temperatures. Electronic devices, commercial technologies, and naval sonar systems also use this rare earth element.

Neodymium

Neodymium and praseodymium combine to produce a strong permanent magnet used by aircraft and vehicles. It is common to find neodymium in some electronic devices, including computer discs, headphones and other similar pieces of equipment. In industrial applications uses neodymium in producing infrared lasers with a high-powered quality.

Holmium

Renowned for its impressive magnetic properties, Holmium is an essential component in magnetic fields. This element is also useful in adding color to glass, cubic Zirconia, and used in microwave equipment.

Erbium

Regarded for its nuclear applications, Erbium controls rods that absorb neutrons. It is also an important component of sophisticated fiber optic communications equipment. Also, erbium makes lasers and other components used in the field of medicine.

Lutetium

Lutetium plays a significant role in a wide selection of applications relevant to positron emission tomography, medical technology, and petroleum refining. It also addresses many types of tumors.With the advancement in technology, more and more elements are being discovered and used as key elements in machines and pieces of equipment in industries.

Rare earth metals, for instance, provides excellent benefits when it comes to the improvement of essential technologies in the world today.

With these metals, companies can ensure the durability, integrity, and safety of equipment used in all sorts of applications. These also enhance the performance of modern technologies that promote greater productivity in several industries.

David Manney is marketing administrator at L&S Electric. This article originally appeared on L&S Electric’s online blog. L&S Electric is a CFE Media content partner. 

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