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samarium (səmârˈēəm), metallic chemical element; symbol Sm; at. no. 62; at. wt. 150.36; m.p. 1,072℃; b.p. 1,791℃; sp. gr. 7.54 at 20℃; valence +2 or +3. Samarium is a lustrous silver-white metal. It is one of the rare-earth metals of the lanthanide series in Group 3 of the periodic table. It has two crystalline forms (see allotropy). The metal does not oxidize at room temperature but ignites when heated above 150℃. Samarium is found widely distributed in nature; it is obtained commercially from the minerals monazite and bastnasite. Naturally occurring samarium is a mixture of seven isotopes, three of which are radioactive with extremely long half-lives. The metal was not isolated in relatively pure form until recently, although it has long been used in pyrophoric alloys used in cigarette lighter flints. Samarium is used as a catalyst in certain organic reactions. A samarium-cobalt compound, SmCo5, is used to make magnets for use in computer memories. The oxide, samaria, is used in special infrared absorbing glass and cores of carbon arc-lamp electrodes. Since one isotope of samarium is a good neutron absorber, the element has found use in nuclear reactor control rods. Samarium was discovered in 1879 by P. E. Lecoq de Boisbaudran by spectroscopic analysis of the mineral samarskite.
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A rare-earth metal, atomic number 62, symbol Sm; melts at 1350°C, tarnishes in air, ignites at 200-400°C.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
a silvery metallic element of the lanthanide series occurring chiefly in monazite and bastnaesite and used in carbon-arc lighting, as a doping agent in laser crystals, and as a neutron-absorber. Symbol: Sm; atomic no.: 62; atomic wt.: 150.36; valency: 2 or 3; relative density: 7.520; melting pt.: 1074°C; boiling pt.: 1794°C
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