Cerium (Ce)

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Cerium 58Ce140.115

Cerium was discovered in 1803 by J.J. Berzelius and W. Hisinger at Vestmanland, Sweden. First isolated by W.F. Hillebrand and T.H. Norton 1875 at Washington, DC, USA.

[Named after ther asteroid Ceres discovered in 1801]

French: cérium
German: Cer
Italian: cerio
Spanish: cerio

Description: Cerium is a reactive, grey metal and is the most abundant of the so-called rare earth metals (more correctly termed the lanthanides). It tarnishes in air, burns easily if ignited, reacts rapidly with water, and dissolves in acids. Cerium is used in glass, flints, ceramics and alloys.


Further Materials properties


Crystal structure:

(cell dimensions/pm), space group, 
a-Ce f.c.c. (a=485), Fm3m
β-Ce hexagonal (a=367.3, c= 1180.2), P62/mmc
γ-Ce f.c.c. (a=516.01), Fm3m
δ-Ce f.c.c. (a=412), Im3m
T(β -> γ) = 441 K

X-ray diffractions mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 352 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKa 48.2 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.484 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 0.6 sa / barns
Density: 8240 (a); 6749 (β); 6773 (γ); 6700 (δ) kg/m-3 [293 K]
Melting point: 798,85°C / 1072 °K
Boiling point: 3425,85°C / 3699 °K
Molar volume: 17.00 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 11.4 [300 K] W m-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 8.5 x 10-6 K-1
Electrical resistivity: 73 x 10-8 [273 K] Ωm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: +2.17 x 10-7(s) kg-1m3
Young's modulus: 33.5 GPa
Rigidity modulus: 13.5 GPa
Bulk modulus: n.a.
Poisson's ratio: 0.248 GPa
Radi: Ce4+ 94;Ce3+ 107; atomic 182.5; covalent 165
Electronegativity: 1.12 (Pauling); 1.06 (Allred); ≤3.0 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 2.85 (Slater); 10.80 (Clementi); 10.57 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 28
Isotope mass range: 129 -> 151



Biological data


Biological role: None, but acts to stimulate metabolism.
Toxic intake: n.a.
Lethal intake: LD50 (chloride, oral, mouse) = 2100 mg Kg-1
Hazards: Cerium is mildly toxic by ingestion, but insoluble salts, such as the oxalate, are non-toxic and doses of up to 500 mg were once prescribed to prevent travel sickness and morning sickness. 
Level in humans  
Blood: 0.002 mg dm-3
Bone: 2.7 ppm
Liver: 0.29 ppm
Muscle: n.a.
Daily dietary intake: n.a. but very low
Total mass of element in average
[70 kg] person:
40 mg


Geological data


MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Bastnäsite-Ce*  (Ce, La, etc.) CO3F  4.9  4 - 4.5  hex., vit/ greasy yellow
Monazite-Ce*  (Ce, La, Nd, Th, etc.)PO4  5.20  5 - 5.5  mon., waxy/ vit. yellow-brown

* Varieties of these minerals that are particularly rich in cerium

Chief ores: monazite, bastnäsite. Perovskite (Ti mineral) can also be rich in cerium
World production: 24 000 tonnes/year
Main mining areas: USA, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, China
Reserves: c. 15 x 106 tonnes
Specimen: available as chips, ingots or powder. Safer.


Sun: 35.5 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 68 ppm
Altantic surface: 9.0 x 10-6 ppm
Atlantic deep: 2.6 x 10-6 ppm
Pacific surface: 1.5 x 10-6 ppm
Pacific deep: 0.5 x 10-6 ppm
Residence time: 100 years
Classification: scavenged
Oxidation state: III

  Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

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Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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