Praseodymium is a lanthanide that occurs in the Earth's crust at 9.5 ppm. It is found in the rare earth minerals monazite and bastnasite. Praseodymium is alloyed with magnesium for use in aircraft engines. It is also used as a coloring agent in certain glasses and gems. Used in lighter flints, glass polishing, lasers, magnets and batteries. Emerging applications include magnetic refrigeration, high-temperature superconductivity and hydrogen storage. Demand for praseodymium in clean energy applications is expected to increase more significantly than in non-clean energy applications.
Praseodymium is a light rare earth element (LREE) used in a variety of technologies, including clean energy. It is a soft, silvery, malleable and ductile metal, and is paramagnetic at any temperature above 1 K. It can partially substitute for neodymium in neodymium-iron-boron magnets for electric vehicle motors and wind turbine generators. Praseodymium and several other LREEs are also used in mischmetal for nickel metal hydride batteries. When substituted for neodymium (Nd) in NdFeB permanent magnets at a ratio of 1 Pr for 4 Nd, the ratio matches the natural abundance of the elements, reducing the Nd requirement while increasing the limited market for Pr (Ames Laboratory 2010). It may also help augment the field strength of NdFeB magnets when it is reduced by the addition of dysprosium (to increase temperature performance). That said, it is generally used as a substitute for other REEs in clean energy applications, not as a primary material.
Although it is the least abundant of the light REEs, praseodymium supply should meet demand in the short and medium term, and new mines will significantly increase supply by 2015. Praseodymium is produced predominantly in China, which instituted significant export quotas and tariffs on REEs for resource conservation and environmental regulatory reasons. New mines in Australia, Canada and the United States will provide additional supply, but are subject to strict permitting processes and environmental regulations. Additional short-term sources may include Molycorp, Mount Weld and Nolans. New mines are projected to increase supply by almost 50% in the short term, and additional medium-term production capacities and producer diversity is expected.
(wiki) - Praseodymium on Wikipedia
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