Rare Earth Metals
Rare earth elements or rare earth metals are all part of a series in the Periodic Table of Elements called the Lanthanide Series that runs from atomic number 57 to 71. In addition the elements yttrium #39, thorium #90 and scandium #21 are also considered to be rare earth metals because they share similar properties. Uranium, although often associated with rare earth metals, is not technically a rare earth metal.
There are many uses for rare earth metals. They are constantly being used in the nuclear power and nuclear weapons industries for both practical and experimental utilization. Some rare earth metals have found more down to earth applications in metallurgy, ceramics, glass making, dyes, lasers, televisions and other electrical components. The movie industry makes use of several rare earth metals to help produce the high intensity lamps that are needed for movie projectors. Yttrium has been used for decades in a diamond simulant called YAG or yttrium aluminum garnet which has physical properties similar to natural garnets but with a brilliance and fire more similar to diamond. The importance of rare earth metals is most certainly on the rise