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Lanthanum, Light Rare Earth Elements, LREE, REE Facts, ProEdge Media Corp., InvestorIntel
REE Facts | HREE Facts | LREE Facts | Rare Metal Resource
LREE : 57 Lanthanum | 58 Cerium | 59 Praseodymium | 60 Neodymium | 61 Promethium | 62 Samarium | 63 Europium | 64 Gadolinium
HREE : 65 Terbium | 66 Dysprosium | 67 Holmium | 68 Erbium | 69 Thulium | 70 Ytterbium | 71 Lutetium | 39 Yttrium
Lanthanum, Light Rare Earth Elements, LREE, REE Facts, ProEdge Media Corp., InvestorIntel
Facts about the Light Rare Earth Element Lanthanum
Tracy Weslosky, Editor, InvestorIntel
Source: REE Handbook

Lanthanum, REE Collection, ProEdge Media Corp. Lanthanum — chemical symbol Ln, atomic number 57 — is the first light-group rare-earth element (LREE), which was discovered in 1839 by Carl Gustav Mosander, a Swedish pharmacist, physician, army surgeon, and curator of the mineral collection at the Stockholm Academy of Sciences. He extracted the new rare earth from an impure cerium nitrate and called it lanthanum, which is derived from the Greek word lanthano, meaning hidden or concealed.

A few curious facts: Lanthanum is used in refining crude oil to keep costs down by increasing yield. Hybrid and electric vehicles use lanthanum nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries. These batteries are used for power tools, toys, laptop computers, telephones, and cameras. Hot tubs and swimming pools can use lanthanum carbonate to reduce algae growth and balance pH levels.

Lanthanum is a silvery-gray metal that oxidizes readily in air. Finely divided lanthanum metal powder can ignite spontaneously in air. The metal is ductile, malleable and soft enough to be cut with a knife.

It has a melting point of 920 °C, and a boiling point of 3464 °C. Lanthanum oxide, or lanthana, occurs as a sesquioxide with the formula La2O3. The oxide is a white powder with a specific gravity of 3.86 gm/cm3, a melting point of 2410 °C, and a formula weight of 325.82 Lanthanum metal is typically prepared by calciothermic reduction of the trihalide, typically LaF3, in a Ta crucible. Lanthanum metal has a low melting point and high boiling point, similar to Ce, Pr, and Nd. . To prepare the LaF3, a mixture of anhydrous hydrofluoric acid and 60% argon is streamed over La2O3 at 700 °C for 16 hours in a platinum-lined Inconel furnace tube. This produces a lanthanum fluoride with approximately 300 ppm oxygen as an impurity.

In a second purification step the oxygen content is lowered to less than 20 ppm by heating the fluoride to about 50 °C above its melting point in a platinum crucible within a graphite cell. The LaF3 is placed in a Ta crucible, reduced with a 15% excess of the theoretical amount of calcium metal required, and heated in an induction vacuum furnace under an inert Ar atmosphere to a temperature above the highest melting reductant or product (Beaudry and Gschneidner, Jr., 1978). Large resources of lanthanum are found in LREE-enriched minerals. The primary source of lanthanum is from carbonatites and the LREE-mineral bastnäsite. Bastnäsite deposits in China and the United States constitute the largest percentage of the world’s rare-earth economic resources.

Lanthanum is also a major constituent in the LREE-mineral monazite, which constitutes the second largest segment of rare-earth resources. Monazite deposits are located in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States in paleoplacer and recent placer deposits, sedimentary deposits, veins, pegmatites, carbonaties, and alkaline complexes. Lanthanum is also sourced from the LREE-mineral loparite is recovered from a large alkali igneous intrusion in Russia (Hedrick, Sinha, and Kosynkin, 1997).

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