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It's Elemental

The Element Praseodymium

[Click for Isotope Data]


59 Pr Praseodymium 140.90766

Atomic Number: 59

Atomic Weight: 140.90766

Melting Point: 1204 K (931°C or 1708°F)

Boiling Point: 3793 K (3520°C or 6368°F)

Density: 6.77 grams per cubic centimeter

Phase at Room Temperature: Solid

Element Classification: Metal

Period Number: 6

Group Number: none

Group Name: Lanthanide

What's in a name? From the Greek words prasios and didymos, which together mean "green twin."

Say what? Praseodymium is pronounced as pra-see-oh-DIM-ee-em.

History and Uses:

Praseodymium was discovered by Carl F. Auer von Welsbach, an Austrian chemist, in 1885. He separated praseodymium, as well as the element neodymium, from a material known as didymium. Today, praseodymium is primarily obtained through an ion exchange process from monazite sand ((Ce, La, Th, Nd, Y)PO4), a material rich in rare earth elements.

Praseodymium's primary use is as an alloying agent with magnesium to create high-strength metals that are used in aircraft engines. Praseodymium also makes up about 5% of Misch metal, a material that is used to make flints for lighters. Praseodymium forms the core of carbon arc lights which are used in the motion picture industry for studio lighting and projector lights. Praseodymium is added to fiber optic cables as a doping agent where it is used as a signal amplifier. Praseodymium salts are used to give glasses and enamels a yellow color. Praseodymium is also a component of didymium glass, which is used to make certain types of welder's and glass blower's goggles.

Estimated Crustal Abundance: 9.2 milligrams per kilogram

Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 6.4×10-7 milligrams per liter

Number of Stable Isotopes: 1 (View all isotope data)

Ionization Energy: 5.464 eV

Oxidation States: +3

Electron Shell Configuration:


2s2   2p6

3s2   3p6   3d10

4s2   4p6   4d10   4f3

5s2   5p6


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For questions about this page, please contact Steve Gagnon.