Neodymium . It is a metallic chemical element , symbol Nd, atomic number 60, atomic weight 144.24 and belongs to the group of rare earths .


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  • 1 Features
  • 2 Nomenclature
  • 3 History
  • 4 Obtaining
  • 5 Isotopes
  • 6 Precautions
  • 7 Applications
  • 8 Curiosities about the element
  • 9 Health effects
  • 10 Effects on the environment
  • 11 Sources


It is found in nature in six isotopes . The oxide , Nd 2 O 3 , is a light blue powder. It dissolves in mineral acids to give reddish violet solutions. Neodymium forms up to 18% of Misch metal , a material that is used to make lighter stones. It has a shiny metallic-silver luster.

It darkens quickly on contact with air, forming an oxide. It belongs to the family of internal transition elements and contains 60 electrons in its stable form and its best-known isotope is Nd-142


The name neodymium comes from the Greek words neos didymos, which means new twin (neos, new) (didymos, twin). The praseodymium and neodymium were discovered together and why they were called twins, this was called again and that the other had given the name of green twin.

The main compounds of neodymium are:

  • Fluorides NdF 3
  • Chlorides NdCl 2, NdCl 3
  • Bromides NdBr 2, NdBrs 3
  • Iodides NdI 2, NdI 3
  • Oxides Nd 23
  • Sulfides NdS, Nd 23
  • Selenides NdSe
  • Telluros NdTe, Nd 2Te 3
  • Nitrides NdN


It was discovered by the Austrian Carl Auer von Welsbach , in Vienna in 1885 . He separated neodymium, as well as praseodymium , from a material called didymium by means of spectroscopic analysis. However, this metal was not isolated before 1925 .


Currently, neodymium is obtained mainly through an ion exchange process with monazite sand (Ce, La, Th, Nd, and PO 4 ), a material rich in rare earth elements. It can also be found in Misch Metal. It is difficult to separate it from other rare earth elements.


Natural neodymium is composed of 5 stable isotopes: 142 Nd, 143 Nd, 145 Nd, 146 Nd and 148 Nd, the most abundant (with 27.2%) being 142 Nd, and two radioisotopes, 144 Nd and 150 Nd. A total of 31 neodymium radioisotopes have been characterized, the most stable being 150 Nd with a half-life (T½) of more than 1.1 × 1019 years, 144 Nd with one of 2.29 × 1015 years, and 147Nd with one of 10.98 days.

The other radioactive isotopes have half-lives below 3.38 days, and most are less than 71 seconds. This element also has 4 metastable states, the most stable being: 139 Ndm (T½ = 5.5 hours), 135 Ndm (T½ = 5.5 minutes) and 141 Ndm (T½ = 62 seconds).

The main mode of decay to the most abundant stable isotope, 142 Nd, is electron capture and the main mode after this is beta emission. The main decay product of 142 Nd is ( praseodymium ) and the next main product is ( promethium ).


Neodymium powdered metal presents a combustion and explosion hazard . It is rarely found in nature, as it occurs in very small amounts. It is normally only found in two different types of minerals. The use of neodymium continues to increase, due to the fact that it is useful for producing catalysts and for polishing glass.


Neodymium is also a component of didymium glass, which is used to make certain types of goggles for welders and glass blowers. Neodymium is added to glass to remove the green color caused by iron contaminants . It can also be added to glass to create purple, red or gray colorations.

Some types of crystal that contain neodymium are used by astronomers to calibrate devices called spectrometers, and other types are used to create artificial rubies for lasers . Some neodymium salts are used to color enamels and glasses.

Neodymium, used in electric car motors and wind turbines, is a rare mineral on the planet, and it is the subject of the struggle for green technologies between rich and emerging countries, while the poor seem condemned to be mere witnesses.

Curiosities about the element

  • The magnets neodymium have a magnetic power nine times higher than the conventional one.
  • Molycorp owns the Mountain Pass mine , in the western state of California , the richest in neodymium outside of China and which could provide more ore.
  • By 2014, world demand is expected to exceed 200,000 tons per year, monopolized by China .
  • Magnets made from neodymium help generate power in electric vehicles and the rotation of turbines in wind generators.

Health effects

It is one of the rare chemical elements, which can be found in the home in equipment such as color televisions , headsets , fluorescent lamps , and glass . All rare chemicals have comparable properties.

Neodymium is rarely found in nature, as it occurs in very small amounts. Neodymium is normally found in only two different types of minerals. The use of neodymium continues to increase, due to the fact that it is useful for producing catalysts and for polishing glass.

It is more dangerous in the work environment, due to the fact that moisture and gases can be inhaled with the air. This can cause pulmonary embolism , especially during long-term exposures. It can also be a threat to the liver when it accumulates in the human body.

Effects on the environment

Neodymium is released into the environment in many different places, mainly by oil- producing industries . It can also enter the environment when household equipment is thrown away. Neodymium will gradually accumulate in soils and in soil water and this will eventually lead to increased concentration in humans, animals and soil particles.

In aquatic animals it causes damage to the cell membrane , which has several negative influences on reproduction and the functions of the nervous system .


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