Lanthanum (La) is the one of the rare earth element with atomic number 57. Lanthanum is a
soft, ductile, slivery-white metal. Lanthanum was first found by in 1839 by
Swedish chemist Cari Gustav Mosander in cerium nitrate as an impurity. From
Ancient Greek “lanthenein” means hidden. Although Lanthanium classified as rare earth metal, it is the 28th most abundant element in Earth’s crust.
Lanthanum makes up about quarter of lanthanide component in minerals such as
monazite and bastnasite. In addition, Lanthanum is the 3rd-most
abundant of all lanthanides making up 39 mg/kg of the earth crust. The pure Lanthanum could be produced by electrolysis of anhydrous lanthanum chloride (LaCl3)
and sodium or potassium chloride (NaCl or KCl) at elevated temperatures. Even
lanthanum has almost no commercial use, its alloys have a variety of
applications. Lanthanum mixtures and compounds have numerous uses as catalysts,
additive glass, carbon arc lamps for studio lights and projectors increasing
the brightness and giving an emission spectrum as same as sunlight, ignition
element in lighters and torches, electron cathodes, scintillators, GTAW
Lanthanum-Nickel alloy is used to store hydrogen gas for use in hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Lanthanum is found in anode of nickel metal hydride batteries used in hybrid cars.
Lanthanum is used as petroleum cracking catalyst splitting of long chain hydrocarbons into shorter chained species.
Lanthanum is used in making light vision goggles (infrared-absorbing glass).
Lanthanum oxide is contained in high quality cameras and telescope lenses making use of its high refractive index and low dispersion.
Lanthanum carbonate is used in reducing blood levels of phosphate in patients with kidney disease.
Lanthanum compounds are also used in some pool products to reduce the level of phosphate nutrients that algae feed on.
Lanthanum’s small amount is added to steel in order to improve its malleability, resistance to impact and ductility, whereas addition of lanthanum to molybdenum decreases its hardness and sensitivity to temperature variations.
Lanthanum chloride is used in phosphor lamp coating.