Dysprosium Facts For Kids: Learn All About The Rare Earth Metal

Akinwalere Olaleye
Nov 02, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Apr 11, 2022
Read these amazing Dysprosium Facts.

Element 66 or Dy (Dysprosium) is a rare earth element.

Dysprosium is found in the Earth's crust at a concentration of seven parts per million. This makes dysprosium one of the least abundant elements on Earth.

Compared to the other elements in the group, dysprosium is commonly found. In 1794, dysprosium oxide was discovered in a mineral sample from Bastnäs, Sweden.

Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran, a French chemist, first discovered dysprosium. Dysprosium was isolated in a similar manner to the other rare Earth metals. De Boisbaudran used an electric arc furnace to vaporize dysprosium-containing minerals, and then he collected the dysprosium vapor with a cooled metal plate.

It was isolated as a pure metal in 1951 by American chemist Charles James by using the ion exchange process. In this article, we will discuss dysprosium in detail. We will cover its physical properties, chemical properties, and applications. By the end of this article, you will know everything there is to know about dysprosium.

Classification Of Dysprosium

Dy is the symbol for dysprosium, and its atomic number is 66. Dysprosium was discovered by Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1886, who named it dysprosium after the Greek word 'dysprousios,' which means hard to get. It wasn't until 1910 that dysprosium was isolated in its pure form.

Dysprosium belongs to the lanthanides group of elements. The term lanthanide is derived from the name of the first discovered lanthanide, lanthanum. It was coined by Victor Goldschmidt in 1925. The suffix -ide means a compound of an element with hydrogen.

Lanthanides are a series of elements that occupy the sixth and seventh rows on the periodic table. Lanthanides start from Lanthanum, whose symbol is La and atomic number is 57.

Lanthanides are all metallic, silvery-white substances that have a high melting point. There are 14 other members in the group. The most common lanthanide is cerium, which makes up almost one-third of all lanthanides.

Chemical Properties Of Dysprosium

Dysprosium is a very reactive element, and it quickly reacts with other elements to form compounds.

Dysprosium reacts with water to form dysprosium hydroxide, which is a strong base. It has an extremely high pH value of 12.5 at 77 F (25 C) and can be toxic if ingested.

Dysprosium is a rare earth metal, and like all other rare earth metals, dysprosium does not react with halogens at room temperature. At high temperatures of over 500 F (260 C), dysprosium will slowly form compounds like dysprosium (III) fluoride, dysprosium (III) chloride, and dysprosium (III) bromide.

Dysprosium reacts with hydrochloric acid to form dysprosium (III) chloride, which is a white solid. It has many uses in the chemical industry as an ion exchange material and in electroplating solutions for silver plating metals.

Dysprosium reacts with nitric acid to form dysprosium (III) nitrate, which is a white solid. It has many uses in the chemical industry as an ion exchange material and in electroplating solutions for silver plating metals.

Dysprosium does not react with chlorine gas at room temperature. At high temperatures of over 500 F (260 C), dysprosium will slowly form the compound dysprosium (III) chloride.

Dysprosium reacts with oxygen in the air to form dysprosium (III) oxide, which is a white, stable, and non-toxic compound. It has very low reactivity compared to other rare earth metals and does not corrode in air.

Dysprosium reacts with sulfuric acid to form dysprosium (III) sulfate, which is a white solid. Dysprosium (III) sulfate is paramagnetic.

Dysprosium is a pure metal with the atomic number 66.

Physical Properties Of Dysprosium

Dysprosium is a silver-gray metal that has the atomic number 66. It has an atomic weight of 162.5 grams per mole, and its melting point is 2565 F (1407 C).

Dysprosium has a boiling point of 4836 F (2680 C), and the density of dysprosium metal is high at around 11.3 grams per cubic centimeter. Dysprosium metal is paramagnetic and has a high Curie temperature. It becomes super-paramagnetic at temperatures above 302 F (150 C).

Dysprosium is not ductile. It is hard and brittle, with a Mohs hardness of approximately five. A dysprosium atom has no free electrons in its outer shell. This means dysprosium cannot form strong interatomic bonds, which makes it a poor conductor of heat and electricity.

Dysprosium has high tensile strength. It can withstand a force of about 15 GPa (gigapascals) before breaking or fracturing. This is higher than any other rare earth metal except for gadolinium and terbium, which have the same tensile strength as dysprosium.

There are certain factors that affect the physical properties of dysprosium. The composition of dysprosium can affect its melting point, boiling point, and density.

For example, if dysprosium is alloyed with other metals, its melting and boiling points will be lowered. The smaller the particle size of dysprosium, the higher its density will be. This is because a small particle has more surface area compared to its volume.

The pressure exerted on dysprosium can also affect its physical properties. For example, increasing the pressure on dysprosium will increase its melting and boiling points.

The temperature of dysprosium can affect its physical properties as well, such as increasing the melting point or lowering the boiling point. A strong magnetic field affects dysprosium's magnetic susceptibility and magnetization curve. It also increases dysprosium's coercivity.

Usage Of Dysprosium

Dysprosium has several uses. It is used in lighting fixtures. Its applications include LED bulbs, television screens, and other types of screens. Dysprosium can also be found in the manufacturing of lasers and medical devices, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanners (MRIs).

Dysprosium is sometimes added to glass to make it more resistant to thermal shock. It is used in the manufacture of permanent magnets.

By adding dysprosium to a magnet, you can increase its coercivity and remanence. This makes the magnet stronger and long-lasting. Dysprosium is also used to make microwave ovens, electric vehicles, and wind turbines.

It is used in the pharmaceutical industry and can be added to drugs to make them more soluble and thus easier to administer. Dysprosium can also be used as a contrast agent in MRI scans.

Dosimeters are small devices that measure the amount of radiation being absorbed by a person's body. Dysprosium is commonly used in these dosimeters as dysprosium absorbs gamma rays, which can then be measured to determine how much radiation has been absorbed by a person or object.

Dysprosium alloys are used to control rods in nuclear reactors. These control rods absorb neutrons and prevent them from hitting the nuclear reactor. Dysprosium control rods regulate the output of a nuclear power plant.

Dysprosium alloys are used to make neodymium-based magnets as they have very good magnetic properties. These magnets have higher coercivity and remanence than regular neodymium magnets. Hence, they are used in electrical vehicles and wind turbines.

Dysprosium is used in combination with vanadium to create laser materials. Dysprosium-vanadate crystals are used as a host material for solid-state lasers and fiber lasers. It also helps make the crystal more resistant to heat, which improves its stability when being used in high-power laser systems.

Dysprosium oxide is used in the production of ferrite magnets. Ferrite magnets are made from a mixture of iron and dysprosium oxide.

They are very strong and can be used in applications such as motors, generators, and loudspeakers. Dysprosium oxide nickel cement is used to help control the reactivity of the fuel rods in nuclear reactors. Since it has a very high refractive index, it can be used to make lenses for high-power lasers.

Dysprosium chloride is used to make laser materials. It can be used in the manufacture of dysprosium fluoride. Dysprosium fluoride is a high-quality glass material with many applications, including optics and lenses for microscopes and telescopes.

Dysprosium sulfate is used as an additive in paints and varnishes to increase their resistance to heat and corrosion. It is used to make glass more resistant to thermal shock. Dysprosium iodide is a component of scintillation counters. Scintillation counters are devices that detect and measure radiation. They are used in medical diagnosis, environmental monitoring, and nuclear safety applications.

Other Interesting Dysprosium Facts

Dysprosium has seven stable isotopes. Dysprosium-162 and dysprosium-164 are the most common, accounting for 28% and 26%, respectively.

Dysprosium is not freely found in nature. It is one of the rare earth elements and can only be recovered from minerals through a labor-intensive process known as mineral processing.

Solvent extraction and ion exchange are some of the other procedures used to get dysprosium. The most common dysprosium ore is called dysprosia, and it can be found in China, the United States, Russia, Australia, and other countries. Dysprosium is recovered from monazite sand and bastnaesite commercially.

Dysprosium metal can be produced by reducing dysprosium oxide with calcium metal or through the electrolysis of dysprosium fluoride. This pure metal has a low level of toxicity and does not affect the environment in any significant way. However, dysprosium compounds are highly toxic and should be handled with care.

Dysprosium can cause severe skin irritation, burns, and even death if ingested. It is not known to be carcinogenic. Dysprosium was isolated in a similar manner to the other rare earth metals.

De Boisbaudran used an electric arc furnace to vaporize dysprosium-containing minerals, and then he collected the dysprosium vapor with a cooled metal plate. Dysprosium is not radioactive since it has a relatively low atomic weight. It is not considered to be an element that can undergo radioactive decay.

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https://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/66/dysprosium#:~:text=Dysprosium's main use is in alloys for neodymium-based magnets.&text=Dysprosium iodide is used inin nuclear reactor control rods.

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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