Quick Answer: Why Do We Need Rare Earth Elements?

Why are rare earth metals important?

Rare earth metals, a group of 17 chemical elements in the Earth’s crust, are crucial to keeping our society running smoothly–and to transitioning to a clean-tech-driven economy.

They’re used in electric car motors, lithium ion batteries, computer hard drives, solar panels, and wind turbines..

What are 2 uses of rare earth metals?

What are ‘rare earths’ used for?Neodymium. This is used to make powerful magnets used in loudspeakers and computer hard drives to enable them to be smaller and more efficient. … Lanthanum. This element is used in camera and telescope lenses. … Cerium. … Praseodymium. … Gadolinium. … Yttrium, terbium, europium.

Why are rare earth metals used in smartphones?

Metals are what make smartphones so “smart.” An average smartphone may contain up to 62 dif- ferent types of metals. … Scandium and yttrium are included in the rare-earth metals because their chemical properties are similar to those of the lanthanides. A single iPhone contains eight different rare-earth metals.

How do I get rare earth metals?

An easy way is through the strategic metals exchange-traded fund, VanEck Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (REMX). This is a basket of companies involved in strategic metals and rare earths with a fair amount of exposure to Chinese companies.

What are rare earth elements used for?

“Rare-earth elements (REEs) are used as components in high technology devices, including smart phones, digital cameras, computer hard disks, fluorescent and light-emitting-diode (LED) lights, flat screen televisions, computer monitors, and electronic displays.

Are rare earth elements toxic?

The chief worry is that the rare earth elements are bound up in mineral deposits with the low-level radioactive element thorium, exposure to which has been linked to an increased risk of developing lung, pancreatic, and other cancers. …

Does Tesla use rare earth metals?

Electric vehicles use batteries and magnets that contain rare earth materials, and Tesla has been using a Chinese company as its supplier of magnets since 2016, Barron’s notes.

Is lead a rare earth metal?

All rare earth metals contain radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium, which can contaminate air, water, soil and groundwater. Metals such as arsenic, barium, copper, aluminum, lead and beryllium may be released during mining into the air or water, and can be toxic to human health.

Why are rare earths called rare?

Although they are called rare, rare earth elements are not extremely rare on Earth. They were called this because they are spread very evenly over the Earth, so it is hard to find a lot in one place. Promethium is rare, because it is radioactive, and decays.

Where do rare earth elements come from?

Rare-earth ore deposits are found all over the world. The major ores are in China, the United States, Australia, and Russia, while other viable ore bodies are found in Canada, India, South Africa, and southeast Asia.

What are considered rare earth metals?

Rare earth metals are a group of 17 elements – lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, scandium, yttrium – that appear in low concentrations in the ground.

What is the most used rare earth element?

The most abundant rare earth elements are cerium, yttrium, lanthanum and neodymium [2]. They have average crustal abundances that are similar to commonly used industrial metals such as chromium, nickel, zinc, molybdenum, tin, tungsten, and lead [1]. Again, they are rarely found in extractable concentrations.

Why are sharks scared of some rare earth metals?

Sharks possess electrical sensors, called the ampullae of Lorenzini, that look like tiny freckles on their snouts. … In 2004, Eric Stroud found that magnets repel sharks, possibly by overwhelming their electrical sensors, and now he says his team has found that some rare earth metals appear to have the same effect.

Will we run out of rare earth metals?

The reserves of some rare earth minerals used in electronics, medical equipment and renewable energy could run out in less than 100 years. Rare earth minerals are naturally occurring resources, which cannot be recreated or replaced. Some are present in only very small quantities in the Earth’s crust.

Which country has the most rare earth metals?

China1. China. Unsurprisingly, China has the highest reserves of rare earth minerals at 44 million MT. The country was also the world’s leading rare earths producer in 2018 by a long shot, putting out 120,000 MT.

Is Lithium a rare earth?

Although lithium is widely distributed on Earth, it does not naturally occur in elemental form due to its high reactivity. … According to the Handbook of Lithium and Natural Calcium, “Lithium is a comparatively rare element, although it is found in many rocks and some brines, but always in very low concentrations.

Is titanium a rare earth metal?

As the ninth-most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, titanium is relatively rare. Research shows the strong and lightweight metal only accounts for roughly 0.63% of the Earth’s crust. With such little titanium available, it costs more to harvest and produce than other metals.

Does the US have rare earth mines?

Rare earths are no longer processed in the United States. In an attempt to change that, the Pentagon last year said it would fund mines and processors via the Defense Production Act, which gives the military wide berth to procure certain equipment.