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Chemistry of Praseodymium

Praseodymium, which is named from the Greek prasios + didymos (green twin), was isolated and identified by von Welsbach in 1885 from what was known at the time as didymium. von Welsbach's work revealed that this "substance" actually contained two new elements, one of which was praseodymium (neodymium was the other).

Pure praseodymium is silvery-white and fairly soft. It oxidizes slowly in air and reacts vigorously with water to release hydrogen gas. It is used as an alloying agent along with magnesium for parts in aircraft engines. Misch metal is 5% praseodymium and is used for alloying steel and in flints used to create sparks in lighters. The glass in welder's goggles contains a mixture of praseodymium and neodymium.

Contributors

Stephen R. Marsden (ChemTopics)