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General Info
Atomic Symbol Atomic symbol::Dy
Atomic Number Atomic number::66
Atomic Weight Atomic weight::162.5 g/mol
Chemical series Lanthanides
Appearance Metallic with a shiny silver luster

Dysprosium cut.jpg

Group, Period, Block Inner Transition Element, 6, 4f
Electron configuration [Xe] 6s2, 4f10
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 28, 8, 2
Electron shell dysprosium.png
CAS number CAS number::7429-91-6
Physical properties
Phase Solid at Room Temperature
Density Density::8.55 g/ml
Melting point Melting point::1412°C
Boiling point Boiling point::2567°C
Isotopes of Dysprosium
iso NA half-life DT DE (MeV) DP
154Dy syn 3.0x106 y α 2.947 150Gd
156Dy 0.06% 1x1018 y α  ? 152Gd
158Dy 0.10% 158Dy is stable with 92 neutrons.
160Dy 2.34% 160Dy is stable with 94 neutrons.
161Dy 18.91% 161Dy is stable with 95 neutrons.
162Dy 25.51% 162Dy is stable with 96 neutrons.
163Dy 24.90% 163Dy is stable with 97 neutrons.
164Dy 28.18% 164Dy is stable with 98 neutrons.
All properties are for STP unless otherwise stated.

Dysprosium is a chemical element located in the Lanthanide group of the periodic table. Its name comes from the Latin word Dysprositos, meaning "hard to get at".[1]


[2] Dysprosium is a shiny silver colored metal. This element is extremely soft, as it can easily be cut by a knife at room temperature. It is not very reactive, and oxidizes very slowly when exposed to air. Impurities are a problem though. Even the smallest amount of impurities will affect the metal a lot. You must be careful when handling dysprosium in the form of powder, because when air is mixed with it, any ignition sources can cause it to explode. Static electricity may also ignite the powder. Once on fire, dysprosium cannot be put out with water, for it may react to the water. The only fires extinguishable with water are dysprosium chloride fires.


Dysprosium is obtained through an ion exchange process from monazite sand. Dysprosium can also be obtained through: Xenotime, Fergusonite, Gadolinite, Monaziate, and Bastnasite, however, Monaziate and Bastnasite are the two most common sources of obtaining Dysprosium through the ion exchange process.

Pure Dysprosium


A Dysprosium shaped ship

We don't yet fully know all the uses of Dysprosium. It can be used in making laser materials along with Vanadium. Dysprosium oxide-nickel cements have been used for cooling nuclear reactor rods.[3] Dysprosium has a high melting point, and is able to absorb neutrons very easily.


In 1886, a French chemist named Andre Lecoq de Boisbaudran[4] discovered the rare earth metal, Dysprosium. Unfortunately, due to the lack of technology at his time, the metal and the oxide were never able to be in their pure form until 1950, when Frank Harold Spedding[5]invented the ion exchange separation technique.


  1. Dysprosium, It's Elemental Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility - Office of Science Education, December 1, 2010.
  2. Dysprosium, Chemical Element Advameg Inc, November 17th, 2010.
  3. Dysprosium #66 Chemistry Operations, University of California, Dec. 15, 2003.
  4. Andre Lecoq de Boisbaudran Paige, Nov. 22, 2010.
  5. Frank Harold Spedding, Nov. 22, 2010.