Rare Earth Elements
What are Rare Earth Elements?
- The Rare Earth Elements, also called the rare-earth metals or rare-earth oxides, are a set of 17 nearly indistinguishable lustrous, silvery-white, soft, heavy metals. They are divided into Heavy and Light Rare Earth Elements.
- Most sought after resources in the world today with strategic importance. Materials as high as for nuclear technology as anyone who controls majority supply controls the global electronics and defense supply chain.
What are uses of Rare Earth Elements?
- Future of all technology in the world and nothing can work without Rare Earth Elements be it Mobile Phones, 5G, CT scan, PET scan, TVs, LED Lights, Cars, Missiles, Fighter airplanes, Submarines or any high end technology that comes to your mind. Nothing can work without them.
- Limited quantity and the prices have increased over 10 times in the last 10 years with similar increase in process expected in the coming decade.
Strategic Use - Defence
A single F35 airplane uses 427Kgs of rare earth metals and a nuclear submarine uses 4200 Kgs of Rare Earth Metals, so one can imagine the importance to secure Rare Earth Metals for security of any country and the need of a reliable supply chain.
Key defence applications:
- 1. Fin actuators in missile guidance and control systems, controlling the direction of the missile.
- 2. Disk drive motors installed in aircraft, tanks, missile systems, and command and control centers.
- 3. Lasers for enemy mine detection, interrogators, underwater mines, and countermeasures.
- 4. Satellite communications, radar, and sonar on submarines and surface ships; and optical equipment and speakers.
|Lanthanum -||Night-Vision goggles|
|Neodymium -||Laser range-finders, guidance systems, communications|
|Europium -||Fluorescents and phosphors in lamps and monitors|
|Erbium -||Amplifiers in fiber-optic data transmission|
|Samarium -||Permanent magnets that are stable at high temperatures|
|Samarium -||Precision-guided weapons|
|Samarium -||"White Noise" production in stealth technology|
An electric car typically uses 10Kgs of Rare Earth Elements per car, with the market share of EV increasing the demand for Rare Earth Elements will also grow.
- Out of the 17 Rare Earth Metals, 16 are used in smartphones.
- Neodymium, terbium and dysprosium, for example, are three of the rare Earth metals: they give your phone the power to vibrate, so smartphones could be made without them – but you'd have to rely on your ringtone. Terbium and dysprosium are also used in tiny quantities in touchscreens to produce the colours of a phone display.
- Every smartphone has 10-12 grams of Rare Earth Elements; with global production on 1.6 billion devices the scale is unimaginable.