Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Is Samarium really this cheap?

BlackDragon2712 - 21-4-2017 at 20:57

So I always wanted to explore the chemistry of rare earth metals and I began looking for the cheapest ones on eBay and I found this user selling 100g of 99% pure Samarium metal powder for 30 bucks...

I know nothing about rare earth metals yet and neither about their prices so I began wondering if this was actually real or just a fake... You would expect rare earth metals to be quite expensive because, well... they are rare... right?

I really appreciate any help guys

j_sum1 - 21-4-2017 at 22:17

Rare Earths aren't that rare. But they are (or were) difficult to separate. They are naturally found altogether in the same ores.

Now that they are used extensively in electronics, cheaper and more efficient methods for separating have been developed. Of course the proportions in which they are produced is not the same as the proportion in which they are used. It is likely that you are benefitting from a surplus somewhere.

PirateDocBrown - 21-4-2017 at 23:34

Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
Rare Earths aren't that rare.

True! Neodymium, lanthanum, and yttrium are all more common than cobalt.
And the most common, cerium, is nearly as common as copper.

Even the rarest, lutetium, is about the same as thallium.

unionised - 22-4-2017 at 04:19

That picture looks a lot more like samarium oxide than any metal.

BlackDragon2712 - 22-4-2017 at 15:07

Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
That picture looks a lot more like samarium oxide than any metal.

Yeah and it looks the same as this one just with a different letter:

mmm... I'm going to risk it and buy it... I hope there is at least rare earth metals on there. I'm going to buy the lanthanum one though, the seller has higher ratings and is cheaper just in case it's a fake

Texium - 23-4-2017 at 10:23

That looks like it could be this stuff:

I made that video of an attempt to purify it. Ended up with a somewhat cleaner, pale yellow "lanthanide carbonate" but it doesn't appear to be pure lanthanum. I got the powder from Brain&Force who in turn got it from diddi. Not sure of the original source, but it looks very similar.

BlackDragon2712 - 23-4-2017 at 11:01

Yes it looks very similar indeed... and the fact that it is in a Ziploc bag and still "99.99% pure" I think is a straight up lie... I wonder how impure it is though.

Zts16 did you find any use for the carbonate you made at the end?

MrHomeScientist - 24-4-2017 at 07:57

Samarium also slowly oxidizes in air to white samarium oxide. I have a bulk sample of the metal that's developed a white powdery coating over a few years. I'd be highly skeptical that this is actually powdered metal stored in a Ziploc bag. If it is, it won't stay that way for long.