Interesting Neodymium Facts
Neodymium is a soft metal that is silver in color. It was first discovered in 1885, and when it is exposed to air it tarnishes rapidly. How many of these Neodymium facts did you know?
- While Neodymium may sound quite rare to the average observer – and it is technically classed as a rare-earth metal – it’s actually relatively common: It is estimated that there’s as much of this metal on earth as there is copper or nickel.
- One of the first commercial uses of Neodymium was as a glass dye: To this day, it is still used by manufacturers of glass ware, typically to achieve a red or purple color effect.
- Baron Carl Auer von Welsbach is credited with the discovery of the metal, back in 1885: Among von Welsbach’s other achievements, he created a flint that is still used in lighters today to create sparks.
- Neodymium takes its name from two Greek words: neos, meaning ‘new’, and didymos, meaning ‘twin’.
- Approximately 7,000 tonnes of the metal were produced in 2014: China is the world’s leading producer. Nations such as the US, Brazil and Australia also mine it.
- China has attempted to limit production of the metal to keep prices high… but this strategy failed after ‘illegal’ producers flooded the market with Neodymium. This saw prices fall drastically from around US$200/kg back in 2011 to just US$40/kg in 2014.
- Neodymium magnets are the world’s strongest permanent magnets: In case you were wondering, a permanent magnet is one that is magnetized and creates its own magnetic field that is persistent. It is said that Neodymium magnets can lift a weight thousands of times their own weight.
- The fact that Neodymium magnets are so strong led to them being used in production of popular toys: These toys were infamously recalled in 2009 and 2012 after concerns that children could swallow the magnets, causing harm to their intestines.
- Due to these safety concerns, the Australian and New Zealand governments moved to completely ban the sale of Neodymium magnets in late 2012/early 2013: However, they remain permitted for sale in the US.
Featured Image Source: By XRDoDRX at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7354234