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Chemical Elements

Gadolinium

lanthanide series, silvery white metallic element, Marignac, masers, monazite

Gadolinium, symbol Gd, silvery white metallic element with an atomic number of 64. Gadolinium is one of the rare earth elements in the lanthanide series of the periodic table. It is named after the mineral gadolinite, in which the element was first detected. Gadolinite in turn was named for Finnish chemist John Gadolin.

Gadolinium occurs with other rare earth elements in many minerals, such as monazite, samarskite, gadolinite, and some varieties of Norwegian ytterspar. It is the 41st element in order of abundance in Earths crust. Gadolinium melts at about 1313C (about 2395F), boils at about 3273C (about 5923F), and has a specific gravity of 7.9. The atomic weight of the element is 157.25.

Gadolinium oxide was first separated from other rare earth elements by the Swiss chemist Jean de Marignac in 1880. The oxide and many salts of gadolinium have been prepared. Gadolinium oxide is white and the salts are colorless.

Because gadolinium has the largest known cross section, or stopping power, for neutrons of any element, it is used as a component of control rods in nuclear reactors. Like the other rare earth elements, it is used in electronic apparatuses such as capacitors and masers; in metal alloys; in high-temperature furnaces; and in apparatuses for magnetic cooling.



Article key phrases:

lanthanide series, silvery white metallic element, Marignac, masers, monazite, rare earth elements, gadolinium, atomic weight, atomic number, metal alloys, periodic table, neutrons, nuclear reactors, specific gravity, stopping power, capacitors, crust, minerals, turn

 
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