Home SCIENCE Europium Element A Metal That Protects Euro

Europium Element A Metal That Protects Euro


Today I would like to tell you about such an unusual metal as europium. Europium is a pretty active so-called f-metal belonging to the lanthanides series in the periodic table. This is a very active metal and its chemical activity can be compared to that of lithium that is why it is stored in containers with inert atmosphere to protect europium from oxidation. By the way europium is paramagnetic and gets attracted to powerful neodymium magnets and also this metal is very expensive.

source/image: Thoisoi2 – Chemical Experiments!

I paid 20 dollars for 1 gram of the metal. Of course I could have bought a whole ton of the metal for 70 cents for 1 gram but I didn’t feel like doing that. When taken out of its container europium is a shiny metal that quickly covers in its oxide and yellow carbonite. This is a pretty soft metal. Europium can easily be cut with pliers. Its softness can be compared to that of plumbum.

Europium actively reacts with water like lithium and calcium forming poorly soluble europium hydroxide of yellow color. As time passes by the metal covers in thick layer of hydroxide and the reaction slows down. If mixed with hydrochloric acid the reaction significantly speeds up because europium dissolves in hydrochloric acid very well producing yellow europium chloride.


By the way I was surprised by one property of europium chloride. Freshly made europium chloride solution fully blocks ultraviolet light when being pointed at with an ultraviolet laser which is pretty strange because usually europium salts glow in ultraviolet light. Europium oxide is also used in picture tubes to make red pixels and also in order to make fluorescent lamps’ light warmer. Europium is also used to protect the dyes of euro banknotes. Europium protects euros. What an interesting coincidence. Perhaps californium is used to protect dollars!Do not repeat the experiments shown in this video!./Thoisoi2 – Chemical Experiments!