Cerium

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Cerium, Ce, chemical element 58, is a soft silver metal in the rare earth section of the periodic table.

Like most rare earth metals, it corrodes easily in air, however it is not actually very rare compared to most the other rare earth metals, and is about 0.0046% of the earth's crust.

Cerium is extremely difficult to purify, because rare earth metals are so similar to each other, they're difficult to seperate, however being similar, most uses don't require they be seperated at all, so this is only sometimes a problem.

Cerium's uses are somewhat scarce, it has some uses as a catalyst to make diesel fuels burn more thoroughly, cerium oxide is a very fine abrasive powder used in polishing glass, AND can replace thorium oxide for heat resistant applications like lantern mantles or welding rods.

The main use I know for cerium is in an alloy known as ferrocerium, which is a metal extremely prone to sparking when struck, and can be used in lighters or other kinds of lighters, or even stage effects requiring copious amounts of sparks.

These are my samples!

Ferrocerium

These curious entities are strikers for a torch lighter, the gold bit is just brass to hold it on, but the dark black bit is an alloy called "Ferrocerium", for a ferrous(iron containing) alloy which is mostly cerium. This metal supposedly consists of 38% cerium, 22% lanthanum, 19% iron, 4% neodymium, 4% praseodymium, and 4% magnesium, and makes sparks VERY EASILY if scraped vigorously with some harder metal. You can find pieces of this in most small lighters too, or you can buy a big bar as an "emergency fire starter", which often comes with a nice chunk of magnesium as well.

Date added(year-month-day):20110730, sample number:46

Tags(Elements in sample):cerium, lanthanum

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