What is gadolinium?


The gadolinium is one of the light rare earth elements belonging to the series of lanthanides . It is the element that occupies position number 64 on the periodic table . It got its name from gadolinite , a mineral from which the element comes.


  • Symbol : Gd
  • Atomic number : 64
  • Group:  3

What is gadolinium?

Gadolinium is a metal or element of the periodic table that belongs to the group of lanthanides or rare earths, it is a ductile material that has a white color, it is shiny and silver at the same time.

  • Gadolinium characteristics
  • History
  • Who discovered gadolinium
  • Properties
  • What is gadolinium for?
  • Side effects
  • Where is it located

Gadolinium characteristics

This metal has striking characteristics, among them we can mention the following:

  • It is a shiny , smooth , silvery-white metal that is ductile and malleable .
  • It is one of the elements that belong to the rare earth group .
  • It is capable of producing salts
  • Its symbol in the periodic table is Gd .
  • It has an atomic number of 64 and atomic weight of 157.25, and it belongs to the group of rare earths and as a natural element it is composed of eight isotopes .
  • It is named in honor of the Swedish scientist Gadolinio .
  • The oxide, Gd2O3, in powder form, is white and the solutions of its salts are colorless .
  • Gadolinium metal is paramagnetic and becomes strongly ferromagnetic at temperatures below ambient. The Curie point where this transition occurs is about 16 K.
  • It has an electron configuration of [Xe] 4f75d16s2.
  • It is not commonly found within nature and when it does it is found in very small amounts.
  • It is dangerous in work environments as it can be inhaled through the air and lungs.


Gadolinium was discovered in 1880 by Charles Galissard de Marignac in Geneva. The scientist had long suspected that didymium , an element that had been reported by Carl Mosander, was not a new element but was a mixture . His suspicions were finally confirmed when Marc Delafontaine and Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in Paris reported that their spectral lines varied according to the source.where they came from. In fact, in 1879 they had already separated the samarium from a didymium that had been extracted from the mineral samarskite, which is found in the Urals. In 1880, Marignac extracted another new rare earth from didymium, as did Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1886, and it was the latter who named it gadolinium.

Who discovered gadolinium

It was discovered by Charles Galissard de Marignac but it was Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran who gave it its name in 1886.


Among its main properties we can mention the following:

  • It is a metal with a smooth consistency , silver in color that reacts perfectly with oxygen and water.
  • It does not react in dry air, but will fog up with a flaky white oxide in humid air that does not protect it from further oxidation.
  • When present in compounds, gadolinium exists mainly in the trivalent state (Gd3 +).
  • At room temperature, metal is paramagnetic , but it becomes ferromagnetic which means that it can be strongly attracted to a magnet when it cools. The Curie point of gadolinium is 17 °.
  • Its magnetism completely depends on the temperature of the environment, for this reason, if it is above the temperature then it will be paramagnetic , and when it is below the temperature it will be ferromagnetic .

What is gadolinium for?

Gadolinium is used in the medical field to perform and obtain better images when magnetic resonance imaging is performed . It is also used in the manufacture of microwaves and color televisions, in the manufacture of amplifiers and professional audio systems. By having ferromagnetic characteristics, it can be part of the group of elements that make up magnets . The control rods of the neutral reactors are also made of this material. It is also used in industrial and scientific magnetic refrigeration .

Side effects

The accumulation of gadolinium in soils and in water increases the concentrations of both humans, animals and plants. This element is capable of producing different damages to cell membranes , which can affect the reproduction and functions of the nervous system . When used as a contrast medium , it may increase the risk that people with severe kidney failure will develop a trigger in thickening of the skin, organs, and tissues. This condition is known of fibrosis nephrogenic systemic, which can also occur in people with liver damage. The possible long-term effects of gadolinium in people are unknown, since it was previously believed that it was excreted from the human body quickly, a theory that has already been discarded.

Where is it located

It is in very small amounts in nature so is actually obtained by reduction with calcium of the fluoride in anhydrous gadolinium.

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