Rare earths are making some headlines. Prices are going up while demand is also on the rise. What really rare earths are? Why are they called rare earths?
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Rare Earths are minerals, dig from the earth and then go through a very complicated process. The process of separating rare earths is also environmentally unfriendly.
Rare Earth Elements (REEs) or rare earth metals are a group of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium.
Both scandium and yttrium are considered as rare earth elements as they show the same chemical properties as the lanthanide and share the same ore as well.
One common misconception is that these seventeen elements are rare that is why they are called rare earth elements. Not really.
The fact is that they are relatively abundant in the earth’s crust. However, because of its geochemical properties, rare earth elements are exist in a dispersed form with other rare earth elements, and not often found individually and in economically exploitable forms. That is the reason these elements are called rare earth elements.
The seventeen rare earth elements with symbols are as follows:
Rare earths have also a variety of applications.