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Some neodymium in a glass tube

Neodymium is a chemical element that has the symbol Nd on the periodic table. It has the atomic number 60 which means it has 60 protons in an atom. Neodymium can be combined with other elements like iron and boron to create the very strong neodymium magnet, these magnets can lift up to 1000 times their own weight. Neodymium is a metal that forms a coating of oxide around itself when it is placed in air. It is usually used as neodymium magnets for hard disk drives.


Though neodymium is called a rare earth metal, it is quite common, as common as nickel, cobalt or copper. Like every metal, neodymium is very shiny. It is a solid like a lot of metals until it changes into a liquid at 1,024 degrees Celsius, or 1,875 degrees Farenheit. Neodymium is in a group of other elements called lanthanides, which are like each other in how they behave. When neodymium is dropped into water, it slowly changes into neodymium hydroxide, if the water or the neodymium itself is hot enough, the change is much faster, and the neodymium may explode. In the air, if the neodymium is hot enough, it can catch fire. Like every other metal, neodymium usually wants to get rid of its electrons, so the compounds it forms are usually with elements that want electrons, as oxygen does.


A neodymium magnet that has been taken out of a hard disk drive

The neodymion magnets used to make hard disk drives do not weaken over time: they are permanent magnets. They can also be used to make microphones or speakers. Even an electric guitar may have these magnets inside their microphones.