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Chemical Elements


lanthanide series, xenotime, SO4, holmium, Dysprosium

Dysprosium, symbol Dy, metallic element with an atomic number of 66. Dysprosium is one of the rare earth elements in the lanthanide series of the periodic table. The element was discovered in 1886 by Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran, who separated one of its compounds from an oxide of holmium. The element’s name comes from the Greek word dysprositos, “hard to obtain,” because the element is very difficult to isolate.

Dysprosium is 42nd in abundance among the elements in Earth's crust. The compounds of dysprosium are found in gadolinite, xenotime, euxenite, and fergusonite in Norway, the United States, Brazil, India, and Australia. Its salts are either yellow or yellow-green in color, the most common being a chloride (DyCl3), a nitrate (Dy(NO3)3·5H2O), and a sulfate (Dy 2(SO4)3·8H2O). The salts of dysprosium have an extremely high magnetic susceptibility. Dysprosium usually occurs as the white oxide dysprosia (Dy2O3), with erbium and holmium, two other rare earth elements. Dysprosia is sometimes used in the control rods of nuclear reactors.

Dysprosium melts at about 1412°C (about 2574°F), boils at about 2567°C (about 4653°F), and has a specific gravity of 8.55. The atomic weight of dysprosium is 162.50.

Article key phrases:

lanthanide series, xenotime, SO4, holmium, Dysprosium, metallic element, erbium, rare earth elements, NO3, atomic number, periodic table, nitrate, sulfate, chloride, abundance, specific gravity, compounds, Norway, Brazil, India, United States, color

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