HOLMIUM

Properties Holmium is a relatively soft and malleable element that is fairly corrosion-resistant and stable in dry air at standard temperature and pressure. In moist air and at higher temperatures, however, it quickly oxidizes, forming a yellowish oxide. In pure form, holmium possesses a metallic, bright silvery luster. Holmium oxide has some fairly dramatic color changes depending on the lighting conditions. In daylight, it is a tannish yellow color. Under trichromatic light, it is a fiery orange red, almost indistinguishable from the appearance of erbium oxide under the same lighting conditions. The change is related to the sharp emission bands of the trivalent ions of these elements, acting as phosphors. Uses Holmium has the highest magnetic strength of any element and therefore is used for the polepieces of the strongest static magnets. Because holmium strongly absorbs neutrons, it is also used in nuclear control rods. Discovery Delafontaine 1878 or J.L. Soret 1878 (Switzerland)

ERBIUM

Properties The melting point of erbium is 159°C, boiling point is 2863°C, specific gravity is 9.066 (25°C), and valence is 3. Pure erbium metal is soft and malleable with a bright silvery metallic luster. The metal is fairly stable in air. Uses Erbium has nuclear and metallurgical uses. It may be added to other metals to lower hardness and improve workability. Erbium oxide is used as a pink colorant in glass and porcelain glaze. Discovery Carl Mosander 1842 or 1843 (Sweden)

TERBIUM

Properties Terbium is a silvery-white rare earth metal that is malleable, ductile and soft enough to be cut with a knife. It is relatively stable in air as compared to other lanthanides.[1] Terbium exists in two crystal allotropes with a transformation temperature of 1289 °C between them.[2] The terbium(III) cation is brilliantly fluorescent, in a bright lemon-yellow color that is the result of a strong green emission line in combination with other lines in the orange and red. The yttrofluorite variety of the mineral fluorite owes its creamy-yellow fluorescence in part to terbium. Terbium easily oxidizes, and is therefore used in its elemental form specifically for research. Single Tb atoms have been isolated by implanting them into fullerene molecules. Uses Most of the world's terbium supply is used in "green" phosphors (which are usually yellow). Terbium oxide is in fluorescent lamps and TV tubes. Terbium "green" phosphors (which fluoresce a brilliant lemon-yellow) are combined with divalent europium blue phosphors and trivalent europium red phosphors to provide "trichromatic" lighting technology, a high-efficiency white light used for standard illumination in indoor lighting. Discovery Carl Mosander 1843 (Sweden)

DYSPROSIUM

Properties Dysprosium is a rare earth element that has a metallic, bright silver luster. It is soft enough to be cut with a knife, and can be machined without sparking if overheating is avoided. Dysprosium's physical characteristics can be greatly affected even by small amounts of impurities. Dysprosium and holmium have the highest magnetic strengths of the elements,[2] especially at low temperatures.[3] Dysprosium has a simple ferromagnetic ordering at temperatures below 85 K (−188.2 °C). Above 85 K (−188.2 °C), it turns into an helical antiferromagnetic state in which all of the atomic moments in a particular basal plane layer are parallel, and oriented at a fixed angle to the moments of adjacent layers. This unusual antiferromagnetism transforms into a disordered (paramagnetic) state at 179 K (−94 °C). Uses Dysprosium is used, in conjunction with vanadium and other elements, in making laser materials and commercial lighting. Because of dysprosium's high thermal neutron absorption cross-section, dysprosium oxide-nickel cermets are used in neutronabsorbing control rods in nuclear reactors.[2][20] Dysprosium-cadmium chalcogenides are sources of infrared radiation which is useful for studying chemical reactions.[1] Because dysprosium and its compounds are highly susceptible to magnetization, they are employed in various data storage applications, such as in hard disks. Discovery Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran

NIOBIUM

Properties Platinum-white with a bright metallic luster, although niobium takes on a bluish cast when exposed to air at room temperatures for a long time. Niobium is ductile, malleable, and highly resistant to corrosion. Niobium does not naturally occur in the free state; it is usually found with tantalum. Uses Niobium, like tantalum, can act as an electrolytic valve allowing alternating current to pass in only one direction through an electrolytic cell. Niobium is used in arc-welding rods for stabilized grades of stainless steel. It is also used in advanced air frame systems. Superconductive magnets are made with Nb-Zr wire, which retains superconductivity in strong magnetic fields. Niobium is used in lamp filaments and to make jewelry. It is capable of being colored by an electrolytic process. Discovery Charles Hatchet 1801 (England)

MOLYBDENUM

Properties Molybdenum does not occur free in nature; it is usually found in molybdenite ore, MoS2, and wulfenite ore, PbMoO4. Molybdenum is also recovered as a by-product of copper and tungsten mining. It is a silvery-white metal of the chromium group. It is very hard and tough, but it is softer and more ductile than tungsten. It has a high elastic modulus. Of the readily-available metals, only tungsten and tantalum have higher melting points. Uses Molybdenum is an important alloying agent which contributes to the hardenability and toughness of quenched and tempered steels. It also improves the strength of steel at high temperatures. It is used in certain heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant nickelbased alloys. Ferro-molybdenum is used to add hardness and toughness to gun barrels, boilers plates, tools, and armor plate. Almost all ultra-high strength steels contain 0.25% to 8% molybdenum. Molybdenum is used in nuclear energy applications and for missile and aircraft parts. Molybdenum oxidizes at elevated temperatures. Some molybdenum compounds are used to color pottery and fabrics. Molybdenum is used to make filament supports in incandescent lamps and as filaments in other electrical devices. The metal has found application as electrodes for electrically-heated glass furnaces. Molybdenum is valuable as a catalyst in the refining of petroleum. The metal is an essential trace element in plant nutrition. Molybdenum sulfide is used as a lubricant, particularly at high temperatures where oils would decompose. Molybdenum forms salts with valencies of 3, 4, or 6, but the hexavalent salts are the most stable. Discovery Carl Wilhelm Scheele 1778 (Sweden)