Dysprosium

At A Glance: Dy

Atomic Number: 66
Atomic Symbol: Dy
Atomic Weight: 162.50
Electron Configuration: [Xe]6s24f10
Atomic Radius: 229 pm (Van der Waals)
Melting Point: 1413 °C
Boiling Point: 2567 °C
Oxidation States: 3
Uses:A key additive to NdFeB magnets to maintain their magnetic properties at high temperatures; consumer electronics.Content provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Used with permission.

Rare earth element - dysprosium
Rare earth element - dysprosium
Dysprosium Spin Video

Photos of rare earth elements used on our site are copyright of Max Whitby and Theodore Gray. Used with permission.

Dysprosium is a popular heavy rare earth that helps to make electronic components smaller and faster. Dysprosium oxide is an additive in special ceramic compositions for producing high-capacitance, small-size capacitors for electronic applications. Dysprosium is also an additive for enhancing the ability of NdFeB high-strength permanent magnets to maintain their magnetic properties at high temperatures.

History

From the Greek word dysprositos, meaning hard to get at. Dysprosium was discovered in 1886 by Lecoq de Boisbaudran, but not isolated. Neither the oxide nor the metal was available in relatively pure form until 1950, when the development of ion-exchange separation and metallographic reduction techniques were created by Spedding and associates. Dysprosium occurs along with other so-called rare-earth or lanthanide elements in a variety of minerals such as xenotime, fergusonite, gadolinite, euxenite, polycrase, and blomstrandine. The most important sources, however, are from monaziate and bastnasite. Dysprosium can be prepared by reduction of the trifluoride with calcium.

Properties

The element has a metallic, bright silver luster. It is relatively stable in air at room temperature, and is readily attacked and dissolved by dilute and concentrated mineral acids, to evolve hydrogen. The metal is soft enough to be cut with a knife and can be machined without sparking if overheating is avoided. Small amounts of impurities can greatly affect its physical properties.

Sources: Los Alamos National Laboratory; Molycorp

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