Rare earths are a series of chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust that are vital to many modern technologies. Rare earth minerals include 17 elements that share similar chemical properties but unique properties that make them essential to new technologies.
There are 17 elements that are considered to be rare earth elements—15 elements in the lanthanide series and two additional elements that share similar chemical properties.
The 17 rare earth elements are Scandium(Sc), Yttrium(Y), Lanthanum(La), Cerium(Ce), Praseodymium(Pr), Neodymium(Nd), Promethium (Pm), Samarium(Sm), Europium(Eu), Gadolinium(Gd), Terbium(Tb) , Dysprosium(Dy), Holmium(Ho), Erbium(Er), Thulium(Tm), Ytterbium(Yb), Lutetium(Lu). Rare earth elements work best when they are added in small doses to composites and alloys. They have unique chemical and physical properties that allow them to interact with other elements and get results that neither element could get on its own.
Why rare earth mineral are so important that it becomes the weapon of trade war?
Rare earths are difficult to exploit because they aren’t found in large quantities or veins like other minerals such as gold. They need to be separated from one another using a variety of mining and processing techniques. Most rare eather mines only produce these types of elements using large-scale techniques that involve drilling, blasting, and hauling. The elements are separated and purified and then refined to meet industry standards for the proper applications. The cost of putting together a rare earth mine can cost up to a half a billion dollars or more. Stone crusher, ball mill and other beneficiaton equipment are essential during rare earth mine process.
These 17 elements are important to the manufacture of many high tech products, including consumer electronics, computers and networks, communications, clean energy, advanced transportation, health care, environmental mitigation, national defense, and many others. These elements help make many technologies perform with reduced weight, reduced emissions, and energy consumption; or give them greater efficiency, performance, miniaturization, speed, durability, and thermal stability. Rare earth-enabled products and technologies help global economic growth, maintain high standards of living, and even save lives . In fact, many of the things you use everyday would not exist without rare earth elemenets.
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