By: Evan Byerley
Atomic Number: 60
Atomic Mass: 144.24
Neodymium was discovered in Australia by a German scientist named Carl F. Auer von Welsbach in 1885. When von Welsbach separated didymium into two parts, one of the two components was neodymia, also known as neodymium. Though, it was not unitl 1925 that neodymium was isolated in its relatively pure form. The name originally comes from the two Greek words "neos" and "didymos" which means "new twin".
Neodymium is found both in the Earth's crust and in our solar system. Though it does exist, it is in very very very small portions. In Earth's crust there are 33 parts per million by weight and in our solar system there are only 3 parts per billion by weight. That is a significant difference even though those are both really small amounts. To put it in perspective, and compare the two, the Earth having an amount of 33/10ˆ6 and our solar system with an amount of 3/10ˆ9, the Earth has 11,000 more Neodymium by weight than the solar system.
How is it used
There are several different ways we use neodymium today in technology and various other things. Infact, most technology and devices common today wouldn't exist without neodymium. It is because of powerful NIB magnets created partly from neodymium, that devices like computers, cell phones, medical equipment, toys, motors, wind turbines, and audio systems operate the way they do. Neodymium is also used to help make ND:YAG lasers and acts as a crystal for the laser pointer. These lasers are used for multiple different purposes like helping treat skin cancer, eye surgery, and cosmetic surgery. It acts as a key component for people who weld or do glass blowing since it is put in goggles to help protect the eyes from being damaged by the flame and sparks.
Neodymium mostly reacts with air, water, and the halogens. If it comes in contact with the air, it slowly tarnishes and will burn readily to form neodymium oxide. With that being said, it should always be contained in something or else it will start to lose its luster and won't look as shiny. Neodymium does react with water but it will react slower with colder water than it will with warm or hot water. When this reaction does occur, neodymium hydroxide is formed. Lastly, neodymium reacts with all the Halogens, and depending on what element out of that family it reacts with, different colors are presented. Some of these colors would include violet, mauve, and green.
Fascinating things about Neodymium
Neodymium is made in several different magnets, devices, and other day to day tools. As a matter of fact, the magnets that neodymium are made in are so powerful that they can be too dangerous for a person to be near. Just to show how strong they are, if two of the magnets were separated from each other from five feet away, they could come back to each other with enough force to completely break your hand and probably take it off! Talk about strong! Also neodymium places an important role in some jewlry. For example, a bracelet made of neodymium is able to be kept in place around a persons wrist without having any strings attached, and without falling apart and breaking. Neodymium can be useful also for powering small motors, as well as small devices like phones and other things that you might even be carrying with you right now! Who would have ever thought neodymium would be in so many things that are a daily need for us humans!
Monster magnet meets computer...
Power of neodymium magnets in slow motion with GoPro Hero 3+
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