Materials

Metals
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Material Description

Aluminum or aluminium is a silver-white metal, very light in weight (less than three times as dense as water), yet relatively strong. Because aluminum is ductile, it can be drawn into wires or pressed into sheets or foil. It is the most abundant metallic element, and the third most abundant of all elements in the
navy ship
aluminum brick with penny
Earth's crust, making up 8% of the crust by weight. Only silicon and oxygen are more plentiful. Bauxite ore is the main source of aluminum; bauxite is processed into alumina before being processed into metallic applications.

Uses of aluminum?
  • Transportation
  • Containers and packaging
  • Building and construction
  • Electrical
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Structural airframe material for aircraft
  • Military and combat vehicles
Material Description

Antimony is a silvery-gray, brittle semi-metal. It rarely occurs in nature as a native element, but is found in a number of different minerals, the most important of which is stibnite. Antimony is often called a semi-metal because in pure form it is not shiny and malleable like true metals.
 ammunition
 antimony


Uses of antimony?
  • Automotive batteries (lead-acid)
  • Ceramics and glass
  • Flame retardants (flameproof fabrics)
  • Automotive brake pads (additive to adjust co-efficient of friction)
  • Cable sheathing
Material Description

Beryllium (Be, Z=4) is the 44th most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Beryllium is a silvery-white, hard and brittle, extremely light metal, which is highly toxic. The mechanical and thermal properties relating to its low density are superior to those of all other materials, making it very useful for structural and electronic applications. Beryllium metal can be vacuum cast ingot or hot pressed powder.
BCMA
Beryl ore


Uses of beryllium metal?

  • Battery contacts and electronic connectors
  • Windows for X-ray tubes
  • Aerospace castings
  • High-definition and cable television
  • Underwater fiber-optic cable systems
  • High density circuits for high-speed computers and automotive ignition systems
  • Pacemakers and other medical devices
Material Description

Bismuth is a silvery-white metallic element with a pinkish tint. Bismuth was long thought to be a variety of lead or tin, which it resembles, until the chemist Claude Geoffroy showed in 1753 that it is a separate element.
bismuth
 bismuth ore


Uses of bismuth?
  • Cosmetics (bismuth oxychloride)
  • Pharmaceuticals (compounds used in over-the-counter to treat stomach illness, burns, intestinal disorders, and stomach ulcers)
  • Metal Alloys
  • Solder
  • Thermoelectric devices (bismuth telluride)
  • Fireworks
  • Plastics with opacity to X-rays (implanted medical devices
  • Ammunition (replacement for lead shot used for hunting, "less-lethal" riot projectile
Material Description

Cadmium is a very soft, silvery-white metallic element. It is so soft that it can be cut with a knife. Cadmium has many chemical similarities to zinc, but is less reactive with acids than is zinc. Metallic cadmium is rarely used industrially in pure form.
Cadmium Metal
 Cadmium


Uses of cadmium?
  • Batteries (NiCd)
  • Pigments (yellow, orange, and red)
  • Plating (provides better rust resistance than zinc, especially in salt water environments
Material Description

Chromium is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard and brittle metal which takes a high polish, resists tarnishing, and has a high melting point.. Chromium is produced from chromite ore . About 80% of world production of chromite ore comes from India, Kazakhstan, and South Africa.  
Turbines
 Chromite


Uses of chromium metal?
  • Component in nickel super-alloys for land based turbines and jet engines
  • Component in high speed tool steel
  • Surface coatings
  • Catalysts for processing hydrocarbons
  • Refractory materials
  • Resistance heating wires
Material Description

Cobalt is a bluish-gray, shiny, brittle metallic element. It has magnetic properties like iron. Cobalt-nickel alloys have good temperature stability and corrosion and wear resistance and are used in high temperature applications. The cobalt resources identified in the world are mostly found in copper or nickel mines in Australia, Canada, Congo (Kinshasa), Russia, and Zambia. In the United States, cobalt resources are in mostly found in Minnesota. Most of the cobalt used in the U.S. is imported. The mineral cobaltite (cobalt sulfarsenide) is a valuable source of cobalt
Helicopter
 cobalt


Uses of cobalt?
  • Batteries
  • Component in nickel superalloys for high temperature sections of jet engines and industrial gas turbines
  • Pigments
  • Medical implants
Material Description

Copper is a mineral and an element. As a mineral, natural copper (also called native copper) is relatively rare. Copper is usually found in nature in association with sulfur. Copper is one of the oldest metals ever used. Because of its properties of high ductility, malleability, conductivity, and resistance to corrosion, copper has become a major industrial metal, ranking third after iron and aluminum in terms of quantities consumed
Copper
 Native Copper


Uses of copper?
  • Electric wire (motors, electromagnets, integrated circuits)
  • Plumbing (tubing, fittings)
  • Architectural roofing and features on buildings
  • Alloys (brass, bronze)
Material Description

Gallium is a metallic element that does not easily combine with other elements or ions to form ore minerals. It is, however, found as a trace element in a number of minerals and ores, the most important of which is bauxite (aluminum ore). In fact, gallium is a byproduct of alumina production. Gallium is not produced in the United States, and demand is satisfied by imports. More than 95% of gallium consumed in the United States is in the form of gallium arsenide.
Gallium
 Bauxite


Uses of gallium?
  • Integrated circuits (cell phones, especially smart phones, wireless internet)
  • Optoelectronic devices (laser diodes, LEDs, photo-detectors, and solar cells)
  • Specialty alloys (minor use, ~1)
Material Description

Hafnium metal is produced when it is separated from zircon, a zirconium silicate mineral which is usually 98% zirconium and 2% hafnium. Hafnium is a metallic element used in a number of industrial applications because they are so resistant to corrosion and high temperatures.
Navy Ship
 Zircon Sand


Uses of hafnium?
  • Control rods on nuclear reactors (primary use)
  • Nickel superalloys and high temperature alloys
  • Integrated circuit production for features at 45mm and smaller
  • Electrodes for plasma arc cutting
Material Description

Lenses
 Indium
Indium is a soft, malleable, silvery-white metallic element. It is produced mainly from residues generated during zinc ore processing. It was named after the indigo line in its atomic spectrum.

Uses of indium?
  • LCD displays
  • Organic LEDs
  • Fiber-optics
  • Solder and alloys
  • Infrared imaging
  • Communications
Click here to expand contentClick here to collapse content  Lead
Material Description

Lead
 Lead
Lead is a very corrosion-resistant, dense, ductile, and malleable blue-gray metal that has been used for at least 5,000 years. The most significant lead mineral is galena (lead sulfide).

Uses of lead?
  • Batteries
  • Cable sheeting
  • Solder
  • Shielding (X-ray machines)
  • Ammunition
Material Description

Lithium is a metallic element widely distributed in the earth's crust at low concentrations. Spodumene, petalite, and lepidolite are important mineral sources of lithium. Subsurface brines are the dominant raw material for lithium carbonate production worldwide because of lower production costs as compared with the costs for hard rock ores.
Batteries
 Lithium


Uses of lithium?
  • Enamels
  • Glass
  • Ceramics
  • Air purification
  • Lithium ion-batteries
  • Focal lenses for telescopes
Material Description

Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, representing about 2% of its total mass. It belongs to the alkaline Earth metal series. Today, magnesium can be extracted from the minerals dolomite and carnallite, but it is most often obtained from seawater or well and lake brines. The metal is silvery white.
Munitions
Magnesium Metal Ribbon


Uses of magnesium?
  • Refractory material in furnace linings for steel, iron, metals, glass and cement production
  • Used in agricultural, chemical and construction industries
Material Description

Manganese is very brittle but hard metallic element. Pyrolusite is the main ore mineral for manganese. Manganese is essential to iron and steel production by virtue of its sulfur-fixing, deoxidizing, and alloying properties. 

Manganese comes in many forms, including Electrolytic Manganese Metal; Manganese Ore, Chemical & Metallurgical Grades; and Manganese Dioxide Battery Grade, Natural & Synthetic.  

Drone
 Manganese Ore


Uses of manganese?
  • Steelmaking
  • Aluminum alloy production
  • Additive in unleaded gasoline
  • Glass making and coloring
  • Batteries and dry cells
  • Alloys for chemical processing applications
  • Alloys for high temperature bolts and fasteners
Material Description

Mercury is the only common metal that is liquid at room temperature. It occurs either as native metal or in cinnabar, corderoite, livingstonite, and other minerals. Mercury has uniform volumetric thermal expansion, good electrical conductivity, and easily forms amalgams with almost all common metals except iron.
Cinnabar
Electric lighting


Uses of mercury?
  • Munition fuzes
  • Missile and space guidance system gyroscopes
  • Dental equipment
  • Electric lighting
  • Infrared detection
Material Description

Molybdenum is a refractory metallic element used principally as an alloying agent in steel, cast iron, and superalloys to enhance hardenability, strength, toughness, and wear and corrosion resistance. The mineral molybdenite (molybdenum sulfide) is an important source of molybdenum.
Chinook
 Molybdenite


Uses of molybdenum?
  • Component in tool and alloy steels
  • Component in nickel superalloys for high temperature sections of jet engines
  • Lubricant
  • Colorant
  • Nickel superalloys for high temperature sections of turbine engines
Material Description

Nickel is a silvery metallic element. Most of the nickel mined comes from two types of deposits: laterites where the principal minerals are nickeliferous limonite (hydrated iron oxide) and garnierite (hydrous nickel silicate), or magmatic sulfide deposits where the principal mineral is pentlandite (iron nickel sulfide).
Jet Engines
 Pentlandite


Uses of nickel?
  • Land based turbines
  • Turbines for jet aircraft engines
  • Turbines for large-scale power generation
  • Liquid gas storage
  • High speed steels
Material Description

Columbium and niobium are synonymous names for the chemical element with atomic number 41; columbium was the name given in 1801, and niobium (Nb) was the name officially designated by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry in 1950. The United States does not have a niobium mining industry because identified resources are low grade. Brazil and Canada are the major producers of niobium mineral concentrates
Jet Engines
 


Uses of niobium metal?
  • Alloying element in steels, stainless steels, superalloys (nickel, cobalt and iron-based)
  • Jet engine components
  • Gas turbines
  • Heat resistant and combustion equipment
  • Tool bits and cutting tools
Material Description
Rhenium (Re, Z=75) is a silvery-white, heavy, transition group metal. With an average concentration of less than 1 ppb (ng/kg), rhenium is one of the rarest elements in the earth's crust. The free element has the third-highest melting point and highest boiling point of any element. Rhenium is also one of the densest elements, exceeded only by platinum, iridium, and osmium.
piece of Molybdenite rock
Jet Engines

Uses of rhenium?

  • Components in nickel superalloys for high temperature sections in jet engines and other jet parts
  • Catalysts for petroleum-reforming
Material Description

Strontium is a silvery-white metal. It is found in nature in two minerals, celestite (strontium sulfate) and strontianite (strontium carbonate).
Ammunition
 


Uses of strontium?
  • Alloys
  • Pyrotechnics
  • Ceramics and glasses
  • Electrolytic production of zinc
  • Tracer ammunition
Material Description

Tantalum is a metallic element that is ductile, easily fabricated, highly resistant to corrosion by acids, and a good conductor of heat and electricity with a high melting point. The major use for tantalum, as tantalum metal powder, is in the production of electronic components, mainly tantalum capacitors. Major end uses for tantalum capacitors include portable telephones, pagers, personal computers, and automotive electronics. Alloyed with other metals, tantalum is also used in making carbide tools for metalworking equipment and in the production of superalloys for jet engine components.
Missile Systems
 


Uses of tantalum?
  • Chemical processing equipment
  • Heat exchangers
  • Anti-lock brake systems
  • High temperature aerospace engine parts
  • Night vision goggles
  • Global positioning systems
  • Missile systems
Click here to expand contentClick here to collapse content  Tin
Material Description

Tin is a silvery-white metallic element . The most important ore mineral of tin, cassiterite (tin dioxide), is formed in high-temperature veins that are usually related to igneous rocks such as granites and rhyolites. It is often found in association with tungsten minerals.
Solder
 Cassiterite


Uses of tin?
  • Bearings
  • Containers
  • Solder
  • Bronze
  • Chemicals
  • LCD TVs, touch screens and portable electronics
Material Description

Titanium is a hard, silvery-white metallic element. As a metal, titanium is well known for corrosion resistance and for its high strength-to-weight ratio.  When titanium metal is produced from ore, it is first produced in sponge form before it is melted into metal shapes. Titanium dioxide pigment is a white pigment characterized by its purity, refractive index, particle size, and surface properties. Titanium metal and pigment are produced from the minerals ilmenite, leucoxene, and rutile.
Various Structural Components
 Titanium Sponge


Uses of titanium sponge?
  • Landing gear, springs, rotors (helicopter), fittings, and attachments
  • Structural components for airplanes, satellites, and spacecraft
  • Gas turbine engines
  • Chemical processing
Material Description

Tungsten is a gray-white metallic element. It has the highest melting temperature of all elements except carbon and is one of the heaviest elements. Tungsten is produced from the ores minerals scheelite (calcium tungstate) and wolframite (iron-manganese tungstate). The ore is concentrated and then usually produced into the intermediate product ammonium paratungstate (APT) before being processed into metallic applications. The United States does not have any operating tungsten mines.
Jet Engine Superalloys
 Wolframite


Uses of tungsten metal powder?
  • Steels
  • Wear-resistant alloys
  • Component in nickel superalloys for high temperature sections of jet engines
  • Armor penetrating projectiles
  • Aircraft weights and counterweights
  • Small arms ammunition
Material Description

Vanadium is a soft, silver-gray metallic element. There is no single mineral ore from which vanadium is recovered. However, it is found as a trace element in a several types of rock and is a by-product of other mining operations. Vanadinite (lead chlorovanadate) is mineral that contains vanadium.
Jet Engine Superalloys
 Vanadinite


Uses of vanadium?
  • Steel
  • Titanium-aluminum-vanadium alloys in jet engines and high-speed aircraft
  • Cladding titanium to steel
  • Energy storage
Click here to expand contentClick here to collapse content  Zinc
Material Description

Zinc is a blue-gray, metallic element. It is recovered from a number of different zinc minerals. The most significant of these is sphalerite (zinc sulfide). Other minerals, such as smithsonite (zinc carbonate), and zincite (zinc oxide) are also zinc ores.
Zinc
 


Uses of zinc?
  • Galvanized Steel
  • Bronze and brass
  • Solder
  • Batteries
  • Solar cells
Material Description

Zircon is a zirconium silicate mineral which is usually 98% zirconium and 2% hafnium and is the primary source of both materials. Zirconium is a metallic element used in a number of industrial applications because it is so resistant to corrosion and high temperatures.
Zircon Sand
 Sub


Uses of zirconium metal?
  • Space vehicles and parts
  • Abrasives
  • Alloys for naval applications
  • Metallurgical furnaces
  • Ceramic knives
  • Artificial joints and limbs

Misc Non-Metals
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Material Description
Arsenic (As) is a gray, yellow, or black metalloid that is generally recovered as a by-product from other metal processing. The brittle gray form used by industry is the most common form.
Integrated Circuit

Common uses of arsenic:
  • Semiconductor dopant (gallium arsenide for use in integrated circuits)
  • Lead-hardening alloy for use in ammunition and batteries
  • Pesticides, herbicides, wood preservative

Material Description

Boron (B, Z=5) is a relatively rare element representing only 0.001% of the earth’s crust. It is a metalloid with properties that are in-between or a mixture of those of metals and nonmetals. Ordinary elemental boron is a brown-black, amorphous powder. Pure boron can be made into extremely hard yellow monoclinic crystals with semiconductor properties much like silicon. Boron has two naturally occurring and stable isotopes, 11B (80.1%) and 10B (19.9%). Boron does not appear on Earth in elemental form but is found combined in borax, boric acid, or borates. Boric acid is sometimes found in volcanic spring waters. Four borates—colemanite, kernite, tincal, and ulexite—make up 90% of the borates used by industry worldwide.
Tank armor

Uses of boron?
  • Component of composite materials (boron fibers) in advanced aerospace structures
  • Industrial catalyst for many organic reactions, such as polymerization reactions
  • Major role in electroplating of nickel, lead and tin
  • Inner plates of ballistic vests and for tank armor (carbon boride)
  • Permanent NdFeB magnets
Material Description

Carbon fibers serve as a continuous reinforcement material incorporated in an advanced polymer matrix composite. Certain grades are widely used in U.S. military and aerospace applications. PAN-based carbon fibers are often classified as high strength (HS), high modulus (HM), intermediate modulus (IM), or standard grade (SG).
helicopter



Uses of carbon fibers?
  • Structural aviation and space vehicle components
Material Description

Energetic materials contain large amounts of potential chemical energy and are categorized into three classes based on the quantity of heat / gas released and speed at which that stored chemical energy is converted. These classes are propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics.
Rocket propellant and warhead


Uses of energetic materials?
  • High explosives
  • Ammunition
  • Rocket propellant
Material Description

Germanium is mainly a byproduct of zinc ore processing. It is a hard, grayish-white element; it has a metallic luster and the same crystal structure as diamond; and it is brittle, like glass. Germanium is a semiconductor, with electrical properties between those of a metal and an insulator.

Germanium


Uses of germanium?
  • Polymerization catalyst for polyethylene terephthalates (PET)
  • Telecommunication fiber optics
  • Lenses for mid- and long- wavelength infrared (IR) devices
  • Solar cells
Material Description

Graphite is one of four forms of crystalline carbon; the others are carbon nanotubes, diamonds, and fullerenes. In graphite, the carbon atoms are densely arranged in parallel-stacked, planar honeycomb-lattice sheets. When the graphite structure is only a one-atom-thick planar sheet, it is called graphene. Graphite is used to produce graphene. Graphene is extremely light and strong. Graphite is gray to black in color, opaque, and usually has a metallic luster; sometimes it exhibits a dull earthy luster. The combination of conductivity and high-thermal stability allows graphite to be used in many applications, such as in batteries, fuel cells, and refractories. Graphite’s lubricity and thermal conductivity make it an excellent material for high-temperature applications because it provides effective lubrication at a friction interface while furnishing a thermally conductive matrix to remove heat from the same interface.
brakes
pencil


Uses of graphite?
  • Batteries
  • Fuel cells
  • Refractories
  • Steel making
  • Brake linings
  • Pencils
Material Description

Cultured or synthetic quartz is a manufactured single-crystal quartz produced by a hydrothermal process and is used for its unique piezoelectric properties. Crystal oscillators within watches and clocks, signal stabilization with radio transmitters and receivers, sensor material in extremely sensitive scales, and in Global Positioning Systems (GPS).
Quartz
Radio


Uses of quartz?
  • Military radios
  • Electronic warfare
  • guidance systems
  • Radar
  • Navigation
  • Aviation electronics
Material Description
Natural rubber is produced from rubber trees as a latex liquid. Rubber is very useful because it is waterproof, is highly elastic, and is highly resilient.
rubber
Tires


Uses of Rubber?
  • Tires and inner tubes
  • Footwear
  • Gasket packaging and sealing
  • Hoses and belting
Material Description

Selenium (Se, Z=34) is a purplish-gray nonmetal semiconductor with an unusual property: its conductivity is proportional to the intensity of light shined onto it. Also, selenium can produce electricity directly from sunlight, making it useful in solar cells.

 


Uses of selenium?
  • Largely consumed in metallurgy and the manufacturing of glass
  • Electrolytic manganese (selenium dioxide)
  • Lead-acid batteries
  • Solar cells (copper indium gallium diselenide, CIGs)
Material Description

Silicon carbide (SiC) is a synthetic mineral most commonly produced in electrical resistance furnaces by the Acheson process. A mixture of carbon material (usually petroleum coke) and either silica or quartz sand is reacted at high temperatures (1,700 – 2,500°C) resulting in the formation of α-SiC. Silicon carbide occurs in nature as the extremely rare mineral moissanite Virtually all the silicon carbide sold in the world is synthetic. SiC has an outstanding hardness, only surpassed by diamond, cubic boron nitride, and boron carbide.
Silica

Earth's crust, making up 8% of the crust by weight. Only silicon and oxygen are more plentiful. Bauxite is the main source of aluminum.

Uses of Silicon Carbide?
  • Machining or finishing cast iron, non-ferrous metals, stone, leather and rubber
  • Pressure blasting, lapping, grinding and polishing or hard metal alloys and non-metallic materials
  • Slicing of silicon wafers
  • Finishing and polishing of manufactured equipment
  • Clean and peen jet rotor blades and other precision parts
Material Description
Tellurium is a brittle silver-white metalloid which appears similar to tin and is mildly toxic to people. Tellurium is primarily alloyed with steel and copper to improve machining and alloyed with bismuth for thermoelectric devices.

What are the common uses of tellurium?

  • Alloying additive in steel, copper, lead and cast iron
  • Vulcanizing agent (rubber)
  • Thermoelectric devices
  • CdZnTe substrates (mid- and long-wave infrared devices)
  • Metal alloys


Alloys
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Material Description

Aluminum is a silver-white metal with a high strength to weight ratio. The addition of a small amount of The addition of a small amount of lithium (between 1.0 and 1.8% for the third alloy generation) improves the mechanical properties of aluminum by reducing the density of the alloy and increasing its elastic modulus (strength).

Uses of aluminum-lithium?
  • Structural airframe material for aircraft and spacecraft
Material Description

Beryllium alloys are the most common form of beryllium product, accounting for an estimated 75% of the total U.S. beryllium consumption. Beryllium-copper (BeCu) alloys are the most commonly used beryllium products. These alloys are divided into high-strength (typically containing 1.6-2% Be) and high-conductivity (containing around 0.3%- 0.7% Be) types.
BCMA
bcma


Uses of BCMA?
  • Automotive electronics
  • Resistance welding systems
  • Housings for magnetic sensing devices
  • Bushing and bearings in aircraft and heavy machinery
  • Aircraft landing gear
  • Radars
  • Fiber optics and lasers
Material Description
Cadmium-Zinc-Telluride (CZT or CdZnTe) is a semiconductor alloy of cadmium, zinc, and tellurium. CZT is usually used as a substrate to produce mercury-cadmium-telluride infrared detectors.
Night Vision Goggles

Uses of CZT?
  • Radiation detector, usually infrared
  • Medical imaging
  • Night vision goggles
  • IED detectors

Ores and Compounds
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Material Description
Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust, constituting about 8% of its total mass. Aluminum is extracted from bauxite, a rock composed mainly of aluminum oxide and aluminum hydroxide minerals.  The rock usually includes other materials such as iron hydroxides, clay, silt, and free silica. It most often occurs as a residual soil material in tropical and subtropical areas. It is the primary source of aluminum. Bauxites are typically classified according to their intended commercial application: abrasive, cement, chemical, metallurgical, and refractory.
.
Abrasives - rock and sand

Common uses for Aluminum Oxide:
Used as an abrasive in the manufacture of sandpaper, polishing compounds, and cutting tools.  For abrasive applications, alumina can be used in industrial applications such as grinding operations, pressure blasting, and mass finishing.  Abrasive alumina can cut, clean, or polish materials such as metals, wood, glass, ceramics, marble, granite, and other stones.

Material Description
Beryllium is a metallic element. The metal is hard, silvery-white in color, and very light — less than twice as dense as water, and only two-thirds as dense as aluminum, which it somewhat resembles. Beryllium has a very high melting point at 1,287°C (2,349°F). The combination of its light weight and high melting point make it valuable for making metal alloys. The most common mineral containing beryllium is beryl, a beryllium aluminum silicate mineral.
Beryl ore

Common uses for beryl ore:
Three primary beryllium forms are produced from beryl/bertrandite ores. About 70-75% of world beryllium consumption is in high-strength and high-conductivity alloys such as copper-beryllium, aluminum-beryllium, and nickel-beryllium. The second major use is as beryllia ceramic (BeO) with approximately 15% of the world consumption.

Material Description
Ferrochromium is an alloy of chromium and iron containing between 50-75 percent chromium. There are three different types of ferrochrome, silicon, low carbon and high carbon. Low carbon ferrochromium contains between 60 and 72 percent chromium, less than 1 percent carbon and the remainder iron. High carbon grades range from 52-72 percent chromium, 4-10 percent carbon and balance iron. This hard, brittle material appears metallic gray in color.
ferrochrome
 


Common uses for Ferrochromium:

  • Stainless steels
  • Alloy steels
  • Tool steel
  • Cast iron
Material Description
Ferromanganese is an alloy of manganese and iron.  This strong, tough, hard alloy appears steel gray to black in color and inevitably turns black as it ages.  Ferromanganese can be found in many forms, such as lump, crushed, and briquettes.
Ferromanganese rock

Common uses for Ferromanganese:
  • Stainless steel production
  • Structural steels
Material Description
When found in nature, fluorspar is known by the mineral name fluorite. Fluorspar is calcium fluoride (CaF2).  Metallurgical grade fluorspar (60–85% CaF2), is traditionally used as a flux to lower the melting point of raw materials in steel production to aid the removal of impurities and in the production of aluminum. Ceramic grade fluorspar (85–95% CaF2) is used in the manufacture of enamels. Acid grade fluorspar (97%+ CaF2) is used to make hydrogen fluoride and hydrofluoric acid.

Flourite rock

Common uses of fluorspar:
  • Metal processing
  • Steel and iron production
  • Catalyst
  • Semiconductor etching
  • Electrical power distribution
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • High-quality camera and telescope lenses
  • Seals and adhesives in engine components

Rare Earths
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Material Description
Cerium (Ce, Z=58) is a very reactive iron-gray colored metal and the most abundant of the lanthanide series, or rare earth elements (REEs). Cerium averages 63 mg/kg, making it the 26th most abundant element in the earth’s crust. It is mostly used in one of its many oxide states, as the unalloyed metal is toxic and reactive. It has 4 stable natural isotopes and 26 radioisotopes.
Cerium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of cerium?
  • Glass manufacture additive and polishing compound
  • Phosphors in TV screens and fluorescent lamps
  • Chemical oxidizing agent
  • Ceramic capacitors, semiconductors and other LCD components
  • Wastewater treatment
Material Description
Dysprosium (Dy Z=66) is a soft metal with a bright silver luster. The metal is a by-product in the commercial production of yttrium. Dysprosium exists in the earth’s crust at an average concentration of ~3.9 mg/kg. Its concentration in sea water is ~0.9 ng/L. Dysprosium has 7 natural isotopes and 29 radioisotopes.
Dysprosium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of dysprosium?
  • Permanent magnets
  • High-intensity lighting
  • Capacitors and chips
  • Data storage applications
  • Chemical reaction testing
  • Laser materials (ceramics and specialty glass)
Material Description
Erbium (Er, Z=68) is a bright, silvery metal. It belongs to the heavy REEs that are less abundant in nature. Erbium is distributed in nature occurring in mixtures with other lanthanide elements. A common mineral is gadolinite. Its concentration in the earth’s crust is ~2.3 mg/kg and ~0.9 ng/L in sea water. The metal is fairly stable in air and does not oxide as rapidly as some other metals. Erbium has 6 natural isotopes and 29 radioisotopes.
Erbium metal and oxide

What are some common uses of erbium?
  • Er:YAG (Yttrium Aluminum Garnet) laser applications
  • Lasers used for cutting and welding
  • Alloy additive for vanadium
  • Activator for phosphors
  • Fiber optic cables
  • Erbium-doped optical fiber amplifiers (EDFAs)
Material Description
Europium (Eu, Z=63), is a soft silvery metal. It ignites in air at ~150–180°C and is the most reactive of the REEs. The metal is soft and quite ductile. Europium is a fission product generated in nuclear reactors. Besides the natural Eu-151 isotope, 35 artificial radioisotopes are known. Europium is not found in nature as a free element but is found mixed with other REEs. Europium’s concentration in the earth’s crust is ~1.0 mg/kg and in seawater is ~1.5 ng/L. Europium has 2 natural isotopes and 35 radioisotopes.
Europium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of europium?

  • Phosphors used in display screens, TVs and fluorescent lights
  • Ceramics and specialty glass
  • Activator for yttrium-based phosphors in TVs and computer screens
  • Polishing powders and magnets
 

Material Description
Gadolinium (Gd, Z=64), is a silvery white ductile metal which is classified as a light REE. It is relatively stable in dry air but tarnishes in moist air. Gadolinium has the highest thermal neutron capture cross-section of any known element. It is ferromagnetic at temperatures below 20°C and paramagnetic above this temperature. Its abundance in the earth’s crust is ~4.0 mg/kg and 0.7 ng/L in seawater. Gadolinium has 6 natural isotopes and 29 radioisotope.
Gadolinium metal and oxide

What are common uses of gadolinium?

  • Medical services: MRI contrast agent, X-ray tubes
  • High refractive index glass or garnets
  • Added to chromium, iron and related alloys
  • SmCo and NdFeB magnets
  • Lasers
  • Radar warning receivers and radar jammers
  • Optical lenses, optical fibers and coatings
Material Description
Holmium (Ho, Z=67) is a soft, malleable metal with a bright silver luster. It oxidizes rapidly in moist air and at elevated temperatures. It falls within the heavy lanthanide rare earths and has the strongest magnetic moment of any natural element. Holmium exists in the earth’s crust at an average concentration of ~0.83 mg/kg, making it the 55th most abundant element. Holmium has one naturally occurring isotope.
Holmium metal and oxide

What are common uses of holmium?
  • Strong artificially generated magnetic fields
  • Red/yellow colors in glass
  • Calibration in gamma ray spectrometers
  • Solid state lasers (YIG, YLF)


Material Description
Lanthanum (La, Z=57) is a soft, silver white metal. It is rarely kept in elemental form due to the quickly proceeding oxidation reaction that occurs in air. Its oxide is much more stable and is the basis for most applications which use lanthanum. Lanthanum’s concentration in the earth’s crust is ~31 mg/kg, making it the 29th most abundant element between neodymium and yttrium. Lanthanum’s concentration in seawater is ~ 29–45 ng/L. It has two natural isotopes.
Lanthanum metal and oxide

What are common uses for lanthanum?
  • Optical fibers, glasses and lenses
  • Ceramic capacitors, semiconductors and other LCD and electronic components
  • Metal alloys for nickel metal hydride batteries
  • Fiber-optic communication systems
  • SmCo magnets
  • High-strength 300M steel
  • Infrared-absorbing glass for night vision goggles
Material Description
Lutetium (Lu, Z=71), is a silvery white metal that is relatively stable in air. It is found in very small amounts in almost all minerals containing yttrium. It is commercially extracted from monazite in which it is present at ~0.001%. It is one of the most difficult metals to prepare. The abundance of lutetium in the Earth crust is only about 0.31 mg/kg. It is one of the rarest and the most expensive of the rare earth metals with a price about US $10,000 per kilogram. It has very few commercial applications. It has two naturally occurring isotopes and several radioisotopes.
Lutetium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of lutetium?

  • High-refractive-index optical lenses (LuAG)
  • X-ray phosphors
  • Specialty silicon nitride ceramic bearings
  • Catalyst is refining petroleum
Material Description
Neodymium (Nd, Z=60) is a soft, bright silvery metal. It is one of the most reactive REEs and quickly oxidizes in air. Neodymium averages ~ 27 mg/kg in the earth crust. The primary source of neodymium is from carbonatites and bastnasite, and a secondary source is in monazite. It is found in minerals such as cerite and allanite. The pure metal has limited application. Its mixture with praseodymium is called didymium. Neodymium has 7 natural isotopes and 23 radioisotopes.
Neodymium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of neodymium?
  • Glass production
  • Incandescent light bulbs
  • Cathode ray tubes
  • Ceramic capacitors, semiconductors and other components for LCDs and electronics
  • NdFeB magnets in smartphones, hard drives, other consumer electronics and in propulsion of DDG-51


Material Description
Praseodymium (Pr, Z=59), is a soft, silvery, malleable and ductile metal. Its average concentration in earth’s crust is ~ 7.1 mg/kg, more abundant than silver, gold, or antimony. It is found in nature associated with other REEs. Monazite and bastnasite are the two principal commercial sources for praseodymium production, even though it is also found in apatite, trachyte, fergusonite, and eudialyte. It has one natural isotope and 29 radioisotopes. It is one of the most refractory materials known. It is contained in misch metal (~ 5%) used to make cigarette lighters.
Praseodymium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of praseodymium?
  • Doping agent in fiber optic cables and several metal alloys
  • Thermal resistance alloys
  • Optical lenses, filters and coatings
  • Ceramic capacitors, semiconductors and other components in LCDs and electronics
  • NdFeB magnets
  • Alloyed with Mg in aircraft engines
  • Lasers


Material Description
Samarium (Sm, Z=62) is a bright silver metal that is reasonably stable in air. It occurs in nature widely distributed but in trace quantities always associated with other REEs. It is found in the earth’s crust at an average of ~4.7 mg/kg. The commercial source of samarium is from carbonatites and bastnasite. It is also found in Precambrian granite rocks, shale, and in minerals such as xenotime and basalt. Misch metal contains ~1% samarium metal. Samarium has 7 natural isotopes and 22 radioisotopes.
Samarium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of samarium?
  • SmCo permanent magnets used in navigation of tanks
  • Present in NYAG (neodymium-yttrium-aluminum-garnet) laser glass
  • Infrared absorption glass
  • Optical glass


Material Description
Scandium (Sc, Z=21) is a transition metal that is silvery white, soft and light. It has one naturally occurring isotope and 15 radioisotopes. It is found widely dispersed in low concentrations in many minerals. Scandium’s concentration in the earth’s crust is ~14 mg/kg. It is found in ~800 different minerals, but primarily as a trace constituent of ferro magnesium minerals. The world market for this metal is small. It is estimated that 20 kg of scandium are used yearly in the US (80 kg in the world) to produce high-intensity lights.
Scandium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of scandium?

  • Frames in scandium alloy in pistols
  • Electronics
  • Light aluminum-scandium alloy for aerospace components
  • Lasers
  • High-intensity lamps for landing gear

Material Description
Terbium (Tb, Z=65) is a silvery-grey rare earth metal that is malleable and ductile, soft enough to be cut with a knife, and relatively stable in air compared with other lanthanides. Terbium’s concentration in the upper crust of the earth is ~0.7 mg/kg. Terbium is found in nature associated with other REEs in xenotime, euxenite, cerite, monazite and gadolinite at concentrations typically < 1% REOs. Terbium has one natural isotope and 25 radioisotopes. It is an expensive material.
Terbium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of terbium?
  • Green phosphors in compact fluorescent light bulbs, LCDs, video displays and night vision goggles
  • Additive in high-strength NdFeB magnets
  • Lasers
Material Description
Thulium (Tm, Z=69), is a silvery-white lustrous metal. It is soft, malleable and ductile. Thulium is the second rarest element after promethium. Its concentration in the upper continental crust is ~0.30 mg/kg. It is found in small quantities with other REEs in several yttrium-rich minerals such as xenotime, gadolinite, euxenite, loparite, fergusonite, yttroparisite and samaskite, but it is extracted commercially from monazite which contains ~0.007% Tm. It is very difficult to separate from the other REEs. Because of its scarcity and high price, there are not many application for this element. There is one natural isotope and 30 radioisotopes for thulium.
Thulium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of thulium?
  • Portable X-ray devices
  • Ceramic magnets for microwave equipment
Material Description
Ytterbium (Yb, Z=70), is a soft, malleable, and ductile silvery metal. Its concentration in the upper continental crust is ~1.96 mg/kg. It is found in nature in the minerals euxenite, gadolinite, monazite and xenotime, but it is principally commercially extracted from monazite sand that contains ~0.03% Yb. Ytterbium has seven natural occurring isotopes and 23 radioisotopes.
Ytterbium metal and oxide

What are the common uses of ytterbium?
  • Portable X-ray machines
  • Optical glasses, crystals and ceramics
  • Ytterbium lasers are used to heat treat turbine blades
  • Super alloys for jet engines
  • Infrared lasers
Material Description
Yttrium (Y, Z=39) is a soft, silver-colored metal which has similar properties to the lanthanides and is classified with the REEs. Its abundance in the earth’s crust is ~ 21 mg/kg, making it the 28th most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Yttrium occurs with most rare earths deposits. It has one naturally occurring isotope and 24 radioisotopes.
rare earth ore with penny

What are the common uses of yttrium?
  • Metallic alloy component
  • Garnet crystals
  • LED phosphor for white and grey colors
  • Optical and camera lenses
  • Protective ceramic layers in get engines
  • Heat-resistant superalloys for jet engines
  • YAG  and YIG lasers

Precious Metals
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Material Description
Iridium (Ir, Z=77), the second densest element, is a silvery-white that resembles platinum but with a slightly yellow tint. It is hard and brittle with a high boiling point that makes it difficult to use or even work. Iridium is the most corrosion-resistant metal. It has handling temperatures as high as 2,000ºC, but in a powder or dust form it is highly reactive and even flammable.
platinum brick with penny

What are the common uses of iridium?
  • Spark plug tips
  • Backlit LED screens and organic LEDS
  • Platinum hardening agent
  • Iridium alloys used in aircraft engines
  • Guided missile systems
  • Computers and radar screens
  • Military semiconductors

Material Description
Palladium (Pd, Z=46), like other platinum group metals (PGMs), is a rare, silvery-white metal found in the Earth’s crust. When annealed, it is a soft, ductile metal that does not tarnish in air below 800ºC. The strength and hardness of palladium can be increased by cold-working. It has the lowest boiling point, (2,963ºC) and it is the least dense of all PGMs. It has a unique ability to absorb hydrogen at up to 900 times its own volume.
platinum brick with penny

What are the common uses of palladium?
  • Electronic conductive connectors
  • Automotive catalysts
  • Multilayer ceramic capacitors
  • Internal computer components
  • Aerospace brazing and soldering
Material Description
Platinum, one of the rarest elements found in the Earth’s crust, has a silvery-white color that never tarnishes. It is a dense, ductile metal that is malleable. Platinum, a noble metal, is corrosion-resistant with high-temperature stability and is non-oxidizable with stable electrical properties. It is part of a group of metals known as the platinum group metals (PGMs).
platinum brick with penny

What are the common uses of platinum?

  • LCD/flat panel displays
  • Catalysts (automotive, bulk chemical, petroleum refining)
  • High temperature, corrosion resistant alloy
  • Aircraft turbine blades, coatings, engine seals and gaskets