Rare Earths


Cerium is a chemical element with symbol Ce and atomic number 58. It is a soft, silvery, ductile metal which easily oxidizes in air. Cerium was named after the dwarf planet Ceres (itself named after the Roman goddess of agriculture). Cerium is the most abundant of ther are earth elements, making up about 0.0046% of the Earth's crust by weight. It is found in a number of minerals, the most important being monazite and bastn ä site. Commercial applications of cerium are numerous. They include catalysts, additives to fuel to reduce emissions and to glass and enamels to change their color. Cerium oxide is an important component of glass polishing powders and phosphors used in screens and fluorescent lamps. It is also used in the "flint" (actually ferrocerium) of lighters.


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