Samarium Properties, usage, isotopes, methods of production and applications

Samarium Properties

Samarium properties, discovery, Usage of Samarium, isotopes, methods of production, applications, interesting facts, FAQs, Thermal, physical, chemical and magnetic properties

Samarium – An Essential Element for Modern Applications

Introduction: Welcome to this educational briefing on Samarium (Sm), an intriguing chemical element with atomic number 62 in the periodic table. In this concise yet informative guide, we will delve into the essential details of Samarium, including its atomic number, symbol, atomic weight, and valency. So, let’s embark on this exciting journey to explore the fascinating world of Samarium.

Table: Samarium Properties

Atomic NumberSymbolAtomic WeightValency
62Sm150.36 u+2, +3
Samarium Properties

Explanation: Samarium, denoted by the chemical symbol “Sm,” is a rare earth metal belonging to the lanthanide series of elements in the periodic table. It is named after the mineral samarskite, which was discovered in Russia in the early 19th century. With an atomic number of 62, Samarium possesses 62 protons in its nucleus, giving it 62 electrons in its electron cloud.

The atomic weight of Samarium is approximately 150.36 unified atomic mass units (u). Atomic weight is a measure of the average mass of an atom of an element, taking into account the various isotopes and their abundance. Samarium exhibits a variety of isotopes, including stable isotopes like Sm-144, Sm-149, and Sm-152.

Regarding valency, Samarium predominantly exhibits a valency of +3. This means that in chemical compounds, Samarium tends to lose three electrons from its outermost energy level to achieve a stable electronic configuration. However, it can also exhibit a valency of +2 in certain compounds, wherein it loses two electrons. These variable valency states make Samarium versatile in forming different types of chemical bonds and participating in various reactions.

Samarium finds applications in several fields, including the production of magnets, catalysis, and as an additive in optical glasses. It also has potential uses in nuclear reactors, electronic devices, and cancer treatment.

Conclusion: In conclusion, Samarium is a fascinating element with atomic number 62, symbol Sm, and an atomic weight of approximately 150.36 u. Its valency ranges between +2 and +3, allowing it to form diverse chemical compounds. As a rare earth metal, Samarium exhibits unique properties and finds applications in various industries. By understanding the fundamental characteristics of Samarium, we gain valuable insights into the vast realm of chemistry and the incredible diversity of the periodic table.

Samarium : Discovery, Usage, and Key Points

Discovery of Samarium:

Samarium was first discovered in 1879 by the French chemist Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran. He extracted an oxide of a new element from the mineral samarskite, which was found in the Samarskaya region of Russia. Lecoq de Boisbaudran named the element Samarium after the mineral’s origin, paying tribute to the Russian mining engineer Vassili Samarsky-Bykhovets.

Samarium Properties
Samarium was first discovered in 1879 by the French chemist Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran

Modern Usage:

Usage of Samarium:

  1. Magnets and Magnetic Materials: Samarium cobalt magnets (SmCo) are among the strongest permanent magnets available. These magnets find applications in electronic devices, motors, sensors, and high-performance magnetic systems.
  2. Catalysis: Samarium compounds serve as catalysts in various organic reactions, including reductions, oxidations, and carbon-carbon bond formations. They find use in pharmaceutical, fine chemical, and polymer industries.
  3. Optical Devices: Samarium is used as an additive in optical glasses and lasers. It helps in controlling the refractive index and absorption properties of glass, making it suitable for lenses, filters, and specialized optical systems.
  4. Nuclear Reactors: Certain isotopes of Samarium, such as Sm-149, have high neutron capture cross-sections. They find use as control rods and burnable absorbers in nuclear reactors for regulating the neutron flux and managing reactor safety.
  5. Cancer Treatment: Samarium-153 (Sm-153) isotope is employed in targeted radiotherapy for the treatment of bone cancer and metastatic bone pain. It emits beta radiation, which selectively targets cancerous cells in bone tissue.

Important Points to Remember about Discovery and Usage of Samarium:

Key Points
Discovery: Samarium was discovered by Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1879, named after the mineral samarskite.
Usage: Samarium is used in magnets, catalysis, optical devices, nuclear reactors, and cancer treatment.
Samarium cobalt magnets (SmCo) are strong permanent magnets with various industrial applications.
Samarium compounds act as catalysts in organic reactions, aiding in pharmaceutical and fine chemical production.
Samarium is added to optical glasses for controlling refractive index and absorption properties.
Certain Samarium isotopes are used in nuclear reactors for neutron control and safety.
Samarium-153 isotope is employed in targeted radiotherapy for bone cancer treatment.
Important Points to Remember about Discovery and Usage of Samarium:

Samarium Properties and Key Points

Samarium Properties :

  1. Physical Properties:
    • Atomic Number: 62
    • Atomic Symbol: Sm
    • Atomic Weight: 150.36 unified atomic mass units (u)
    • Melting Point: 1072°C (1962°F)
    • Boiling Point: 1794°C (3261°F)
    • Density: 7.52 grams per cubic centimeter (at room temperature)
    • Crystal Structure: Hexagonal
  2. Chemical Properties:
    • Valency: Samarium exhibits variable valency states of +2 and +3. It tends to lose two or three electrons to achieve stability in chemical compounds.
    • Reactivity: Samarium reacts slowly with water, but readily reacts with oxygen in the air to form a protective oxide layer.
    • Oxidation States: Samarium commonly exhibits the +3 oxidation state, but it can also show the +2, +4, and +5 oxidation states in certain compounds.
    • Complex Formation: Samarium forms complexes with various ligands, demonstrating its coordination chemistry capabilities.
  3. Magnetic Properties:
    • Paramagnetism: Samarium is paramagnetic, meaning it is weakly attracted to magnetic fields. It displays stronger paramagnetism at low temperatures.
    • Samarium Cobalt Magnets: Alloys of Samarium with Cobalt (SmCo) exhibit strong magnetic properties and are widely used in high-performance magnets.
  4. Isotopes:
    • Samarium has several isotopes, including stable isotopes like Sm-144, Sm-149, and Sm-152, as well as radioactive isotopes such as Sm-148 and Sm-151.

Important Points to Remember about Samarium Properties:

Key Points
Physical Properties: Samarium has an atomic number of 62, symbol Sm, atomic weight of 150.36 u, and a hexagonal crystal structure.
Chemical Properties: Samarium exhibits variable valency (+2, +3) and forms complexes with ligands. It reacts with oxygen and shows different oxidation states.
Magnetic Properties: Samarium is paramagnetic and forms strong magnets when combined with Cobalt in SmCo alloys.
Isotopes: Samarium has stable and radioactive isotopes, contributing to its diverse applications.
Important Points to Remember about Samarium Properties:

Samarium Isotopes and Compounds – Exploring Variations and Applications

Isotopes of Samarium:

Samarium has several isotopes, both stable and radioactive, each with a different number of neutrons in its nucleus. The most abundant stable isotopes of Samarium include Sm-144, Sm-149, and Sm-152. These isotopes play a significant role in the properties and applications of Samarium.

Radioactive isotopes of Samarium, such as Sm-148 and Sm-151, are also noteworthy. Sm-148 is a byproduct of nuclear reactors and is used in scientific research and medical applications. Sm-151 is a neutron absorber and finds applications in controlling the reactivity of nuclear reactors.

Compounds of Samarium:

  1. Samarium Oxide (Sm2O3): Samarium oxide is a vital compound derived from Samarium. It is a white solid with high melting and boiling points. Samarium oxide is used in the production of ceramic capacitors, optical glasses, and as a catalyst in various chemical reactions.
  2. Samarium Chloride (SmCl3): Samarium chloride is a compound formed by the reaction of Samarium with chlorine. It is a pinkish solid and is highly soluble in water. Samarium chloride finds application in organic synthesis, as a precursor for the preparation of other Samarium compounds, and as a catalyst in various reactions.
  3. Samarium Cobalt Magnets (SmCo): Samarium cobalt magnets are powerful and highly magnetic materials. These magnets are made by combining Samarium with Cobalt and other elements. SmCo magnets exhibit excellent resistance to demagnetization and are used in various high-performance applications, including motors, sensors, and electronic devices.
  4. Samarium Hexaboride (SmB6): Samarium hexaboride is a compound composed of Samarium and Boron. It is a black solid with interesting electronic properties, including a low-temperature resistivity plateau and strong electron correlation effects. Samarium hexaboride has applications in quantum materials research and as a thermionic emitter.

Thermal, Physical, Chemical, and Magnetic Properties of Samarium

Thermal Properties:

  1. Melting Point: Samarium has a relatively high melting point of approximately 1072°C (1962°F). This temperature indicates the point at which Samarium transitions from a solid to a liquid state.
  2. Boiling Point: Samarium has a boiling point of around 1794°C (3261°F). This temperature represents the point at which Samarium transitions from a liquid to a gaseous state.

Physical Properties:

  1. Density: Samarium has a density of approximately 7.52 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³) at room temperature. This density value indicates the mass of Samarium per unit volume, highlighting its compactness.
  2. Crystal Structure: Samarium crystallizes in a hexagonal close-packed (hcp) crystal structure. This arrangement determines the spatial arrangement of Samarium atoms, influencing its physical and chemical properties.

Chemical Properties:

  1. Valency: Samarium exhibits variable valency states, primarily +2 and +3. In chemical compounds, Samarium tends to lose two or three electrons from its outermost energy level to achieve a stable electronic configuration.
  2. Reactivity: Samarium reacts slowly with water, but it readily reacts with oxygen in the air to form a protective oxide layer. This oxide layer helps prevent further oxidation of the metal.
  3. Oxidation States: Samarium can exhibit various oxidation states, including +2, +3, +4, and +5, depending on the compound and reaction conditions.

Magnetic Properties:

  1. Paramagnetism: Samarium is paramagnetic, meaning it is weakly attracted to magnetic fields. At low temperatures, Samarium displays stronger paramagnetic behavior.
  2. Samarium Cobalt Magnets: Samarium cobalt magnets (SmCo) are a notable application of Samarium’s magnetic properties. These magnets are known for their exceptional magnetic strength and resistance to demagnetization.
  3. Curie Temperature: Samarium has a relatively high Curie temperature, which is the temperature at which a material’s magnetic properties change. The Curie temperature of Samarium is approximately 735°C (1355°F) for the pure metal.

Methods of Production and Applications of Samarium

Methods of Production:

Samarium (Sm) is primarily obtained from the processing of monazite, a mineral rich in rare earth elements. The extraction process involves several steps:

  1. Mining: Monazite deposits are mined, typically found in beach sands and heavy mineral deposits.
  2. Crushing and Grinding: The mined monazite ore is crushed and ground into a fine powder to increase the surface area for subsequent chemical processing.
  3. Digestion: The powdered monazite is subjected to chemical digestion using strong acids, such as sulfuric acid, to dissolve the rare earth elements.
  4. Precipitation and Purification: Various chemical processes, such as solvent extraction and precipitation, are employed to separate and purify Samarium from other rare earth elements.

Applications of Samarium:

  1. Magnets: Samarium cobalt magnets (SmCo) are among the strongest permanent magnets available. These magnets are used in high-performance applications such as motors, generators, sensors, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
  2. Catalysts: Samarium compounds act as catalysts in various organic reactions, including reductions, oxidations, and carbon-carbon bond formations. They find use in the pharmaceutical, fine chemical, and polymer industries.
  3. Optical Devices: Samarium is used as an additive in optical glasses and lasers. It helps control the refractive index and absorption properties of the glass, making it suitable for lenses, filters, and specialized optical systems.
  4. Nuclear Reactors: Samarium-149 has a high neutron capture cross-section, making it useful for controlling the reactivity and safety of nuclear reactors. It is used as a burnable neutron absorber and in control rods.
  5. Cancer Treatment: Samarium-153 (Sm-153) isotope is employed in targeted radiotherapy for the treatment of bone cancer and metastatic bone pain. It emits beta radiation, which selectively targets cancerous cells in bone tissue.
  6. Phosphors: Samarium compounds are used as phosphors in lighting applications. They can emit specific wavelengths of light when excited, making them useful in fluorescent lamps and other lighting technologies.
  7. Alloys: Samarium is alloyed with other metals to improve their properties. For example, it is used in the production of specialized alloys for aerospace components and permanent magnet applications.
  8. Ceramics: Samarium oxide (Sm2O3) is used in the production of ceramics, including dielectric materials, solid oxide fuel cells, and ceramic capacitors.

Top 10 Countries in Samarium Production, Extraction, and Resource Capacity

the top 10 countries in terms of Samarium production, extraction, and resources capacity:

RankCountryProduction (tons)Extraction SourceResources Capacity (tons)
1China1,800Monazite, Bastnäsite36,000
2Brazil750Monazite18,000
3India600Monazite, Xenotime15,000
4Russia500Loparite, Monazite10,000
5Malaysia450Monazite, Xenotime9,000
6Australia400Xenotime8,000
7United States350Bastnäsite, Monazite7,000
8Vietnam300Xenotime, Monazite6,000
9Kazakhstan250Monazite, Xenotime5,000
10Burundi200Monazite, Xenotime4,000
the top 10 countries in terms of Samarium production, extraction, and resources capacity:

10 interesting facts about Samarium Properties:

Here are 10 interesting facts about Samarium:

  1. Rare Earth Element: Samarium is part of the group of elements known as rare earth elements. These elements are vital for various technological applications due to their unique properties.
  2. Named after Samarskite: Samarium derives its name from the mineral samarskite, which was discovered in Russia. The mineral was named in honor of Russian mining engineer Vasily Samarsky-Bykhovets.
  3. Soft and Silvery: Samarium is a soft and silvery metal that can be easily cut with a knife. It is relatively stable in air but tarnishes slowly, acquiring a yellowish color over time.
  4. Radioactive Isotope: Samarium has both stable and radioactive isotopes. The radioactive isotope Samarium-147 has a half-life of approximately 106 billion years, making it useful for geological dating.
  5. Strong Magnetic Properties: Samarium is known for its strong magnetic properties. It is one of the key components in Samarium Cobalt magnets, which are used in applications requiring powerful and stable magnets.
  6. Lighting Up: Samarium is used as a component in phosphors, which are materials that emit light when excited by energy sources such as electric current or UV light. These phosphors are commonly found in fluorescent lamps and other lighting technologies.
  7. Nuclear Reactor Applications: Samarium-149 is a neutron absorber and finds use in controlling the reactivity of nuclear reactors. It helps regulate and maintain the stability and safety of nuclear power systems.
  8. Targeted Cancer Therapy: Samarium-153 (Sm-153) isotope is used in targeted radiotherapy for the treatment of bone cancer and metastatic bone pain. It delivers localized radiation to cancerous cells in the bone tissue.
  9. Optical Applications: Samarium is used as an additive in optical glasses and lasers. It helps control the refractive index and absorption properties of the glass, making it suitable for lenses, filters, and specialized optical systems.
  10. Abundance in Monazite: Samarium is primarily extracted from monazite, a mineral rich in rare earth elements. Monazite deposits, found in various countries, serve as a significant source of Samarium.

10 common but interesting frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Samarium Properties:

What is Samarium?

Samarium is a chemical element with the symbol Sm and atomic number 62. It is a rare earth metal belonging to the lanthanide series of elements.

Is Samarium a rare element?

Yes, Samarium is considered a rare earth element. It is relatively abundant in the Earth’s crust but is not commonly found in concentrated deposits.

What are the uses of Samarium?

Samarium is used in various applications, including magnets (Samarium Cobalt magnets), catalysts, optical devices, nuclear reactors, cancer treatment, phosphors, alloys, and ceramics.

Is Samarium toxic?

Samarium is considered to have low toxicity. However, like other rare earth elements, it should be handled with care to prevent inhalation or ingestion of its compounds.

Can Samarium be found naturally in its pure form?

No, Samarium is not found in its pure form in nature. It is usually extracted from minerals containing rare earth elements, such as monazite and bastnäsite.

Where is Samarium mined?

Samarium is primarily mined in countries with significant rare earth element reserves, including China, Brazil, India, Russia, and Malaysia.

Can Samarium be recycled?

Yes, Samarium can be recycled from various sources, including electronic waste, magnets, and industrial residues. Recycling helps reduce the demand for primary extraction and conserves natural resources.

How is Samarium used in magnets?

Samarium is a key component in Samarium Cobalt magnets (SmCo), which are known for their strong magnetic properties and resistance to demagnetization. These magnets are used in various high-performance applications.

What are the health benefits of Samarium?

Samarium does not have any known essential biological functions in the human body. However, its radioactive isotope Samarium-153 is used in targeted radiotherapy for the treatment of bone cancer and metastatic bone pain.

Can Samarium catch fire?

Samarium itself is not flammable. However, like other metals, it can react with certain substances under specific conditions, potentially resulting in combustion or the release of flammable gases. Proper safety measures should be taken when handling Samarium and its compounds.

Free MCQs for GK and Exam preparations
Free MCQs for GK and Exam preparations

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