Use of lanthanides
- A pyrophoric alloy which contains cerium, lanthanum and Neodymium; iron; aluminium; calcium, carbon and silicon is used in cigarette lighters, toys, flame throwing tanks and tracer bullets.
- Ceria (CeO2) and thoria (ThO2) are used in gas lamp materials.
- Cerium salts are used in dyeing cotton, lead storage batteries and as catalyst.
- Lanthanides are used in metallothermic reactions due to their extraordinary reducing property. Lanthanido – thermic processes can yield sufficiently pure Nb, Zr, Fe, Co, Ni, Mn, Y, W, U, B and Si.
- Alloys of Lanthanides are known as mish – metals .The major constituents of mish-metals are Ce(45-50%), La(25%), Nd(5%) and small quantities of other lanthanide metals and Fe and Ca impurities. Mish-metals are used for the production of brands of steel like heat resistant, stainless and instrumental steels. Mg- alloys containing 30% mishmetal and 1% Zr are useful in making parts of jet engines.
Uses of Actinides
- U-235 is fissionable, it is used as fuel in nuclear power plants and as a component in nuclear weapons.
- Plutonium – 238 is used as a power source in long mission space probes.