Praseodymium is a chemical element in the Periodic Table marked with the atomic number of 59 and with the chemical symbol Pr. This chemical element belongs to period 6 elements and the Lanthanide category. Similar to the rest of the Lanthanide elements Praseodymium possesses metallic properties. In the Periodic Table Praseodymium is preceded by Cerium and is followed by Neodymium.
This chemical element appears as a soft metal, which is quite ductile and malleable. Some of the most valued properties of Praseodymium are its optical, chemical, electrical and magnetic characteristics. It is a highly reactive Lanthanide element, which is why it cannot be found in its natural state on Earth. Praseodymium was named after the Greek word for “green” because of the color of its green oxide coating, which is formed through the artificial preparation of this chemical element. It has various oxidation states of +2, +3, +4, and even +5. It forms various compounds and solutions with water, Oxygen and other chemical elements thanks to its high reactivity. It also forms various iodides, Bromides, Chlorides, Carbonates, and other compounds. Praseodymium has various commercial applications, but it has no know biological roles to living organisms.
Physical Characteristics of Praseodymium
Like the rest of the Lanthanide elements in the Periodic Table Praseodymium is a soft and ductile metallic element. It has a silvery metallic appearance and its oxides have a yellow-green hue. When exposed to air this chemical gets slowly tarnished and it reacts to Oxygen slower than other similar chemical elements like Cerium, Neodymium, and Lanthanum. Praseodymium has high melting and boiling points. It is also notably paramagnetic and highly electropositive. This chemical has a double hexagonal close-packed crystal structure similar to other Lanthanides. Because of its reactivity to Oxygen and other chemical elements Praseodymium must be stored in containers filled with light mineral oil.
Chemical Properties of Praseodymium
Atomic Number – 59
Group – n/a
Period – 6
Block – f
Electronic Configuration – 4f3 6s2
Relative Atomic Mass – 140.907 (140.90765 g/mol)
Molecular Weight – 140.907
Electronegativity – 1.13
Density (G CM-3) – 6.77 g/cm3 at room temperature; 6.50 g/cm3 in liquid state
Melting Point – 1208 K; 935 °C; 1715 °F
Boiling Point – 3403 K; 3130 °C; 5666 °F
Atomic Radius – 182 pm
Isotopes – 1
Electronic Shell – 2, 8, 18, 21, 8, 2
Discovery of Praseodymium
In 1885 an Austrian chemist and inventor, named Carl Auer von Welsbach, managed to separate the previously discovered compound mixture, called Didymium, into two different elements. These two elements gave salts in different colors. The newly found chemical elements were, in fact, Praseodymium and Neodymium. He named the element Praseodymium after the yellow-green color of its oxide. The name is derived from the Greek words Prasinos, which means “green”, and Didymos, which means “twin”. The pure form of this chemical element was fully prepared for the very first time back in 1931.
Recognized by: Carl Auer von Welsbach (1885)
Known and discovered by: Carl Auer von Welsbach (1885)
Named by: Carl Auer von Welsbach
Uses and role of Praseodymium
Even though it does not have any biological roles for living organisms, Praseodymium has a large variety of commercial and industrial uses when combined with other chemical elements in the Periodic Table and their compounds.
Praseodymium finds uses in the manufacturing of various aircrafts and mischmetals, and is widely used in the glass manufacturing industry. This chemical element finds applications in optics, carbon arc lights, and even in metallurgy. It is also used in electronics for projectors, studio lighting, engines, and even in silicate crystals and durable, powerful magnets.
Praseodymium on Earth
While Praseodymium does not occur in pure, natural forms on Earth, it can be found in tiny traces in the atmosphere, in seawater and in Earth’s crust. It is mostly concentrated in various minerals like monazite and bastnasite. It is mostly extracted from Rare Earth minerals through ion exchange.
While Praseodymium is considered to be relatively rare and found only mixed with other elements and compounds, scientists and technicians have discovered a way to apply this element into the mass market of electronics. This Lanthanide element, along with Europium, Neptunium, Terbium and other Actinides and Lanthanides can be found in every smartphone. Praseodymium is an irreplaceable part of any smartphone’s screen and electronics as part of the metallic alloys in it.