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It's Elemental

The Element Gadolinium

[Click for Isotope Data]


64 Gd Gadolinium 157.25

Atomic Number: 64

Atomic Weight: 157.25

Melting Point: 1586 K (1313°C or 2395°F)

Boiling Point: 3546 K (3273°C or 5923°F)

Density: 7.90 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? Named for the mineral gadolinite which was named after Johan Gadolin, a Finnish chemist.

Say what? Gadolinium is pronounced as GAD-oh-LIN-ee-em.

History and Uses:

Spectroscopic evidence for the existence of gadolinium was first observed by the Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac in the minerals didymia and gadolinite ((Ce, La, Nd, Y)2FeBe2Si2O10) in 1880. Today, gadolinium is primarily obtained from the minerals monazite ((Ce, La, Th, Nd, Y)PO4) and bastnasite ((Ce,La,Y)CO3F).

Gadolinium has the greatest ability to capture thermal neutrons of all known elements and can be used as control rods for nuclear reactors. Unfortunately, the two isotopes best suited for neutron capture, gadolinium-155 and gadolinium-157, are present in gadolinium in small amounts. As a result, gadolinium control rods quickly lose their effectiveness.

Gadolinium can be combined with yttrium to form garnets that have applications in microwave technology. Gadolinium can be alloyed with iron, chromium and other metals to improve their workability and their resistance to high temperatures and oxidation. Gadolinium compounds are used to make phosphors for color televisions.

Estimated Crustal Abundance: 6.2 milligrams per kilogram

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

Number of Stable Isotopes: 5 (View all isotope data)

Ionization Energy: 6.150 eV

Oxidation States: +3

Electron Shell Configuration:


2s2   2p6

3s2   3p6   3d10

4s2   4p6   4d10   4f7

5s2   5p6   5d1


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For questions about this page, please contact Steve Gagnon.