Uses of Lanthanides and actinides
Use of lanthanides
1. A pyrophoric alloy which contains cerium, lanthanum and Neodymium; iron; aluminium; calcium, carbon and silicon is used in cigarette lighters, toys, flame throwing tanks and tracer bullets.
2. Ceria (CeO2) and thoria (ThO2) are used in gas lamp materials.
3. Cerium salts are used in dyeing cotton, lead storage batteries and as catalyst.
4. Lanthanides are used in metallothermic reactions due to their extraordinary reducing property. Lanthanido - thermic processes can yield sufficiently pure Nb, Zr, Fe, Co, Ni, Mn, Y, W, U, B and Si.
5. Alloys of Lanthanides are known as mish - metals .The major constituents
6. of mish-metals are Ce(45-50%), La(25%), Nd(5%) and small quantities of other lanthanide metals and Fe and Ca impurities. Mish-metals are used for the production of brands of steel like heat resistant, stainless and instrumental steels. Mg- alloys containing 30% mishmetal and 1% Zr are useful in making parts of jet engines.
Uses of Actinides
1. U-235 is fissionable, it is used as fuel in nuclear power plants and as a component in nuclear weapons.
2. Plutonium - 238 is used as a power source in long mission space probes.