Rare earth metals are seventeen chemical elements that occur together in the periodic table. The group consists of yttrium and the 15 lanthanide elements (lanthanum, cerium, gadolinium, terbium, praseodymium, neodymium, europium, erbium, thulium, promethium, samarium, dysprosium, holmium, ytterbium, and lutetium). Cerium is a silvery-white metal is the most abundant of the rare earth elements and has numerous applications. Cerium oxide is used as a catalyst in catalytic converters which are used to reduce emissions in automotive exhaust systems. Cerium is also used in magnesium, iron and aluminum alloys.
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Owing to unique luminescent, magnetic and electrochemical properties, the rare earth metals elements have contributed in the creation of many technologies in performing with reduced emissions, reduced weight, and energy consumption. It is also characterized by enhanced efficiency, speed, durability, performance, miniaturization and thermal stability. Military uses of these metals include precision-guided weapons, night-vision goggles, GPS equipment, communications equipment, batteries, and other defense electronics. Rare earth metals are also used in magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) contrast agents, x-ray tubes, nuclear medicine imaging, portable x-ray machines, for genetic screening tests, medical cancer treatment applications and dental lasers.
Yttrium is used in cancer treatment drugs, TV sets and for enhancing strength of alloys. Lanthanum is widely used in camera and telescope lenses. Lanthanum containing compounds are used have various applications in carbon lighting, which include studio lighting and cinema projection. Samarium is used in powerful magnets used in many defense, transportation and commercial technologies. It is also used in combination with other compounds for intravenous radiation treatment which can kill cancer cells and is also used for the treatment of lung, breast, prostate and other forms of bone cancer. As samarium is a stable neutron absorber, it is used in controlling rods of nuclear reactors.
Rare Earth Metals Market Outlook – Increasing Demand for Recyclable and Environment Friendly Materials to be the Major Market Driver
Asia Pacific is expected to be the most potential market for Rare Earth Metals companies. Asia Pacific is projected to witness relatively high growth in terms of value over the forecast period. This is mainly attributed to the major rare earth metal resources found in countries such as China and India. According to The Wall Street Journal China produces around 90% share of the total rare earth metals globally. This has attracted many industries depending on the rare earth metals. According to Scientific American, India is authorizing a plant which will produce up to 5,000 tons of rare earth metals in a year. This would help India to contribute around 5 percent to the global supply of the rare earth metals used in cars, cameras, iPhones and wind turbines. This trend is expected to be followed over the forecast period.
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