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REE- Lanthanides





Atomic number





cerium subgroup

Occurrence / Extraction

Mainly in monazite (Ce, La, Th, Nd, Y)PO4, bastnasite (Ce, La, Y)CO3F. But also in allanite (also known as orthite)—(Ca, Ce, La, Y)2(Al, Fe)3(SiO4)3(OH), hydroxylbastnasite (Ce, La, Nd)CO3(OH, F), rhabdophane (Ce, La, Nd)PO4-H2O, zircon (ZrSiO4), and synchysite Ca(Ce, La, Nd, Y)(CO3)2F.

Extraction:  metal obtained by passing an electric current through cerium chloride or by heating calcium metal together with cerium fluoride.


In glass industry, it is considered to be the most efficient glass polishing agent for precision optical polishing. It is also used to decolorize glass by keeping iron in its ferrous state.

Cerium is also used in a variety of ceramics, including dental compositions and as a phase stabilizer in zirconia-based products.

Misch metal, a cerium alloy, gives off a spark when struck. It is used in the flints of cigarette lighters

In catalytic converters Cerium acts as a stabilizer for the high surface area alumina, as a promoter of the water-gas shift reaction, and as an oxygen storage component. It is used in FCC catalysts containing zeolites to provide both catalytic reactivity in the reactor and thermal stability in the regenerator.

In steel manufacturing, it is used to remove free oxygen and sulfur. Cerium is used in stainless steel as a precipitation hardening agent.
Cerium sulphide (Ce2S3) is likely to replace cadmium in red pigments for containers, toys, household wares and crates, since cadmium is now considered environmentally undesiderable.


Cerium is a malleable, soft, ductile, iron-grey metal, slightly harder than lead. It is very reactive: it tarnishes readily in the air, it oxidizes slowly in cold water and rapidly in hot water. It dissolves in acids. It can burn when heated or scratched with a knife. 
Cerium has the longest liquid range of any non-radioactive element: 2627°C

Atomic mass :  140.12 g.mol -1
 Electronegativity according to Pauling:  1.1
 Density:  6.76 at 20°C
 Melting point:  799 °C
 Boiling point:  3426 °C
Named after the asteroid Ceres discovered two years before the element.

Relative abundance

It is thought to occur in the Earth's crust with a concentration of 40 to 66 parts per million. This makes cerium about as abundant as copper or zinc.

atomic mass (g.mol -1)


density (g/cm3)


Oxydation number

+3 +4

Melting point (°C)


Boiling point (°C)


Magnetic moment


Abundance in the Earth's crust ( ppm)



Jöns Jakob Berzelius and Wilhelm Hisinger   in 1803