Gadolinium Facts

Chemical & Physical Properties of Gadolinium

Gadolinium is a lustrous silvery-white metal.
Gadolinium is a lustrous silvery-white metal.

Gadolinium is one of the light rare earth elements belonging to the lanthanide series. Here are some interesting facts about this metal:

  • Gadolinium is silvery, malleable, ductile metal with a metallic sheen. It is fluorescent and tends to have a faintly yellowish tint.
  • Gadolinium, like other rare earths, is not found in pure form in nature. The primary source of the element is the mineral gadolinite. It is also found in other rare earth ores, such as monazite and bastnasite.
  • At low temperatures, gadolinium is more ferromagnetic than iron.
  • Gadolinium has superconductive properties.
  • Gadolinium is magnetocaloric, which means its temperature increases when it is placed in a magnetic field and decreases when it is removed from the field.
  • Lecoq de Boisbaudran separated gadolinium from its oxide in 1886. He named the element for Finnish Chemist Johan Gadolin, the discoverer of the first rare earth element.
  • French chemist and engineer Felix Trombe was the first to purify gadolinium in 1935.
  • Gadolinium has the highest thermal neutron cross section of all the elements.
  • Gadolinium is used in nuclear reactor control rods to regular fission.
  • The element is injected into MRI patients to increase image contrast.
  • Other uses of gadolinium include manufacture of certain iron and chromium alloys, computer chips and CDs, microwave ovens, and televisions.
  • The pure metal is fairly stable in air, but tarnishes in moist air. It slowly reacts in water and dissolves in dilute acid. At high temperatures, gadolinium reacts with oxygen.

    Gadolinium Chemical and Physical Properties

    Element Name: Gadolinium

    Atomic Number: 64

    Symbol: Gd

    Atomic Weight: 157.25

    Discovery: Jean de Marignac 1880 (Switzerland)

    Electron Configuration: [Xe] 4f7 5d1 6s2

    Element Classification: Rare Earth (Lanthanide)

    Word Origin: Named after the mineral gadolinite.

    Density (g/cc): 7.900

    Melting Point (K): 1586

    Boiling Point (K): 3539

    Appearance: soft, ductile, silvery-white metal

    Atomic Radius (pm): 179

    Atomic Volume (cc/mol): 19.9

    Covalent Radius (pm): 161

    Ionic Radius: 93.8 (+3e)

    Specific Heat (@20°C J/g mol): 0.230

    Evaporation Heat (kJ/mol): 398

    Pauling Negativity Number: 1.20

    First Ionizing Energy (kJ/mol): 594.2

    Oxidation States: 3

    Lattice Structure: Hexagonal

    Lattice Constant (Å): 3.640

    Lattice C/A Ratio: 1.588

    References: Los Alamos National Laboratory (2001), Crescent Chemical Company (2001), Lange's Handbook of Chemistry (1952), CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics (18th Ed.)


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    Your Citation
    Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Gadolinium Facts." ThoughtCo, Aug. 21, 2015, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2015, August 21). Gadolinium Facts. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Gadolinium Facts." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 18, 2017).