Lanthanum (La) is a soft silvery white coloured metal that has the atomic number 57 in the periodic table. It is a Lanthanide metal.
Lanthanum is classed as a rare earth metal much like Yttrium. It was discovered by Carl Mosander in 1839 in the mineral cerite. Moander took some finely powdered Cerium nitrate and mixed it with nitric acid, upon separating out the solid he obtained a brick red oxide. It was not until 1923 that pure Lanthanum was obtained by electrolysis. Much like the alkali metals Lanthanum can be cut with a knife and oxidises quickly and is reactive with water. Lanthanum is used in rechargeable batteries and as a catalyst to crack petroleum fractions. It is a solid metal at room temperature with a melting point of 920░c and a boiling point of 3464░c.
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