Molycorp Metals & Alloys produces all of the rare earth elements as pure metal ingots with a minimum purity of 99.9% with respect to rare-earth and non-rare earth metallic impurities, with the exception of tantalum (Ta) in some cases. Most of these metals (except Sm, Eu, Tm and Yb) are produced by calciothermic reduction (reduction of the rare earth fluoride with calcium metal) in a vacuum induction melting (VIM) furnace.
These reductions are done in tantalum crucibles, and cast initially into slabs or plates. Except for the light rare earth metals (La, Ce, Nd and Pr) these metals will pick up tantalum at certain levels, typically at the percentages indicated below the elemental symbol for each metal in the graphic below (ND = not detected, or typically <0.01%). We also offer those metals that pick up tantalum (except Gd) in a distilled form.
Distilled metals are produced under high vacuum and leave the metal tantalum-free. Sm, Eu, Tm and Yb are produced by a sublimation process (in high-vacuum furnaces). These metals do not contain Ta in sublimed form. Both sublimed and distilled metals are dendritic in form. Sublimed metals can also be recast into slabs, rods or shapes (Tm will pick up tantalum, as indicated below, when recast).
- Cast ingots are supplied as chopstock (ingot pieces cut from slabs).
- Chopstock sizes run from 2″ x down to 1/2″ x down; standard size is 3/4″ x down.
- Distilled and sublimed metals are supplied as dendritic pieces, typically 3/4″ x down in size.
- Purities less than 99.9% are offered for Sc, Ce, Pr, Nd, and Dy.
- La, Ce, Nd and Pr oxidize fairly rapidly and are shipped under mineral oil. These metals can be packaged dry under argon per customer request if use is expected to be imminent and a long shelf-life is not expected.
- Europium is always packaged in mineral oil, as it is a water reactive, flammable metal and oxidizes almost immediately in air.
- All other rare earth metal ingots or distilled/sublimed pieces are packaged under argon.
- Each metal has a specific minimum order requirement in ingot, sublimed or distilled form.
- Lead time for ingots that are in stock is generally 2-3 days after receipt of order. Larger quantities may be 3-4 weeks or longer.
- Products are shipped FOB Phoenix, AZ, USA. Freight charges are customer’s responsibility.
- Terms are generally net 30 days with approved credit.