Neodymium is a member of the lanthanide family of elements. Its chemical symbol is Nd. Its atomic number is 60 and it was discovered in 1885 in Austria by Carl F.Auer von Welsbach. Its name means new twin, from the words of neo-and didymos. Neodymium is mildly toxic if ingested. Its melting point is 1294 K (1021C or 1870F), and its boiling point is 3347 K (3074C or 5565F). Its density is 7.01 g rams per cubic centimeter. It is a solid at room temperature, and its atomic weight is 144.242.
Neodymium has a bright, silvery, metallic luster. It is a rare earth metal but one of the more reactive ones. It tarnishes quickly in air and forms an oxide.
It is used to color glass for welder’s goggles, and to color glass shades from violet, wine red, and gray. When light is transmitted through, this glass shows sharp absorption bands. For this reason neodymium is used to calibrate lasers and spectral lines in astronomy. Neodymium is part of permanent magnets that are cheaper than samarium cobalt magnets and used in headphones. It is also used to color ceramics and enamel. This rare earth element is used to promote plant growth in China as a fertilizer.
The lanthanides are soft silvery metals, whose name means “hidden”. They are very much alike and hard to distinguish from each other. They are members of the rare earth metal group, but many of them are not rare at all. Cerium is more common on earth than Copper. The least common lanthanide is Thulium and it is more common than silver. The lanthanides were discovered in the first half of the Twentieth Century.
The lanthanides have strong refractory effects and are thus used in light equipment and in lenses. They are also useful in lasers, CDs, and as colorants. Their emissions make the color in color television. They also have strong magnetic qualities and can run miniature motors. In this usage the lanthanides have become very common in technology. You also find lanthanides in electron microscopes and superconductors. Samarium is used to make the carbon lights that are in use in the motion picture industry, and are therefore responsible for the movies we see. They also make up the flint for cigarette lighters.
It has been used in homeopathic medicine to treat Parkinson’s disease, for eye problems, hypothyroidism, and arthritis. The mental state that it treats is one of hardness and toughness, and a feeling of being armored. They can be a rascal because of this courage, but feel insecure and anxious at the same time.