Wikijunior:The Elements/Cerium

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Shows the position of cerium on the periodic table.
Cerium's symbol on the Periodic Table
The cerium element in the lighter created the spark shown

What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?[edit | edit source]

Cerium is a rare earth element (REE) group (in the Lanthanide series). It looks like a soft, silver-grey METAL and it’s very malleable. It tarnishes when exposed to air. It’s very reactive. It is also the most common element in the rare earth elements group.

How was it discovered and where?[edit | edit source]

It was discovered by two Swedish scientists named Jöns Jakob Berzelius and Wilhelm Hisinger in 1803. It was discovered in Bastnäs, in Sweden.

Where did its name come from?[edit | edit source]

It was named after the asteroid Ceres which was discovered in 1801. A fun fact is the asteroid was discovered two years before the element “Cerium” was found out.

Did You Know?

  • Humphry Davy invented electrochemistry which help scientists to isolate the cerium from other elements
  • About 0.0046% of the weight of Earth’s crust is composed of cerium.
  • The named Cerium came from the asteroid named Ceres. The asteroid was discovered about two years before the humans welcomed the element into human life.

What are its uses?[edit | edit source]

Cerium can have two roles in being used:[edit | edit source]

This is the picture of cerium oxide. It must mix with warm water to become a liquid to make the glass shiny again.
1.5 grams of Ultrapure cerium under argon

1) Cerium oxide is used to make the glass shiny again.

2) Cerium metal is used for making ferrocerium lighters. Ferrocerium lighters have a flint spark lighter that produce a little spark after the fire has been lit.

Is it dangerous?[edit | edit source]

It is dangerous because it is highly reactive with water and produces hydrogen gas during the reaction. Also it will ignite if it is scratched with a sharp object, such as a knife. BUT it can be safe if used or mixed with other elements.