Metallic cerium is prepared by reduction techniques, such as by reducing cerous fluoride with calcium, or by electrolysis of molten cerous chloride or other cerous halides.
Cerium is an iron-grey lustrous metal. It is malleable, and oxidises very readily at room temperature, especially in moist air. Except for europium, cerium is the most reactive of the rare-earth metals. It slowly decomposes in cold water, and rapidly in hot water. Alkali solutions and dilute and concentrated acids attack the metal rapidly. The pure metal may ignite when scratched with a knife.
It is the most abundant of the rare earth metals and is found in minerals including allanite, monazite, cerite, and bastanite. There are large deposits found in India, Brazil and the USA.
Discoveror: Wilhelm von Hisinger, Jons Jacob Berzelius, Martin Klaproth
Date discovered: 1803
Discovered at: Sweden, Germany
Meaning of name: Named after the asteroid Ceres which discovered in 1801, 2 years before the element
Standard state: solid at 298 K
Colour: silvery white
Density of solid at ambient temperature/kg m-3: 6689
Molar volume/cm3: 20.69
Atomic: no data
Covalent (single bond):
Pauling radius for the ion [Ce]-: no data
Valence shell orbital radius maxima (Rmax)
Both values are quoted on the Pauling scale.
Allred Rochow: 1.08
structure: hcp (hexagonal close-packed)
The following CrystalMaker image represents the solid state structure. For most elements, the most stable allotrope is illustrated. Try WebElements version 2 for interactive virtual reality and CHIME images.
melting point: 1068
boiling point: 3633
Enthalpies /kJ mol-1
single bond enthalpies:
Ionization enthalpies /kJ mol-1
This section gives some data for naturally occurring isotopes.
||% natural abundance
|136Ce||135.907140 (50)||0.19 (1)|
|138Ce||137.905985 (12)||0.25 (1)|
|140Ce||139.905433 (4)||88.48 (10)|
|142Ce||141.909241 (4)||11.08 (10)|