Cerium (Chemical Elements)
Cerium is the most abundant of the rare earth metals. Rare earth metals are the elements in Row 6 of the periodic table. The periodic table is a chart that shows how chemical elements are related to each other. The rare earth elements are not really rare. In fact, cerium ranks about number 26 in abundance among elements found in the Earth's crust.
Cerium is a gray metal that easily reacts with other elements. It is used in making a number of different alloys, in the production of many kinds of specialty glass, and in the chemical industry.
Discovery and naming
Cerium was the first rare earth element to be discovered. It was isolated in 1839 by Swedish chemist Carl Gustav Mosander (1797-1858). Mosander was studying a new rock that had been discovered outside the town of Bastnas, Sweden. Mosander named the new element cerium, in honor of the asteroid Ceres that had been discovered in 1801.
(The entire section is 1107 words.)
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