Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Name, Symbol, Number||Lanthanum, La, 57|
|Group, Period, Block||3 , 6, f|
|Density, Hardness||6146 kg/m3, 2.5|
|Appearance||silvery white |
|Atomic weight||138.9055 u|
|Atomic radius (calc.)||195 (n/a) pm|
|Covalent radius||169 pm|
|van der Waals radius||n/a pm|
|e- 's per energy level||2, 8,18,18, 9, 2|
|Oxidation states (Oxide)||3 (strong base)|
|State of matter||solid (_)|
|Melting point||1193 K (1688 °F)|
|Boiling point||3730 K (6255 °F)|
|Molar volume||22.39 ×10-6 m3/mol|
|Heat of vaporization||414 kJ/mol|
|Heat of fusion||6.2 kJ/mol|
|Vapor pressure||1.33E-07 Pa at 1193 K|
|Velocity of sound||2475 m/s at 293.15 K|
|Electronegativity||1.1 (Pauling scale)|
|Specific heat capacity||190 J/(kg*K)|
|Electrical conductivity||1.26 106/m ohm|
|Thermal conductivity||13.5 W/(m*K)|
|1st ionization potential||538.1 kJ/mol|
|2nd ionization potential||1067 kJ/mol|
|3rd ionization potential||1850.3 kJ/mol|
|4th ionization potential||4819 kJ/mol|
|Most stable isotopes|
|SI units & STP are used except where noted.|
Lanthanum is a silvery white metallic element belonging to group 3 of the periodic table and often considered to be one of the lanthanides. Found in some rare-earth minerals, usually in combination with cerium and other rare earth elements. Lanthanum is malleable, ductile, and soft enough to be cut with a knife. It is one of the most reactive of the rare-earth metals. The metal reacts directly with elemental carbon, nitrogen, boron, selenium, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, and with halogens. It oxidizes rapidly when exposed to air. Cold water attacks lanthanum slowly, while hot water attacks it much more rapidly.
Uses of lanthanum:
- Carbon lighting applications, especially by the motion picture industry for studio lighting and projection.
- La2O3 improves the alkali resistance of glass, and is used in making special optical glasses, such as:
- Small amounts of lanthanum added to steel improves its malleability, resistance to impact and ductility.
- Small amounts of lanthanum added to iron helps to produce nodular cast iron.
- Small amounts of lanthanum added to molybdenum decreases the hardness of this metal and its sensitivity to temperature variations.
- Mischmetal, a pyrophoric alloy used e.g. in lighter flints, contains 25% to 45% lanthanum.
- The oxide and the boride are used in electronic vacuum tubes.
- Hydrogen sponge alloys can contain lanthanum. These alloys are capable of storing up to 400 times their own volume of hydrogen gas in a reversible adsorption process.
- Petroleum cracking catalysts.
- Gas lantern mantles.
- Glass and lapidary polishing compound.
- La-Ba age dating of rocks and ores.
- Lanthanum Nitrate is mainly applied in specialty glass, water treatment and catalyst.
Lanthanum was discovered in 1839 by Carl Mosander, when he partially decomposed a sample of cerium nitrate by heating and treating the resulting salt with dilute nitric acid. From the resulting solution, he isolated a new rare earth he called lantana. Lanthanum was isolated in relatively pure form in 1923.
The word lanthanum comes from the Greek lanthanein, to lie hidden.
Lanthanum has no known biological role.
The element is not absorbed orally, and when injected its elimination is very slow. Lanthanum carbonate is being studied as a compound to absorb excess phosphate in cases of end-stage renal failure. Some rare-earth chlorides, such as lanthanum chloride (LaCl3), are known to have anticoagulant properties.
Naturally occurring lanthanum is composed of one stable (139La) and one radioactive (138La) isotope, with the stable isotope, 139La, being the most abundant (99.91% natural abundance). 38 radioisotopes have been characterized with the most stable being 138La with a half-life of 1.05×1011 years, and 137La with a half-life of 60,000 years. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives that are less than 24 hours and the majority of these have half lives that are less than 1 minute. This element also has 3 meta states.
Lanthanum has a low to moderate level of toxicity, and should be handled with care. In animals, the injection of lanthanum solutions produces glycohemia , low blood pressure, degeneration of the spleen and hepatic alterations.
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