A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...
with the symbol Gd and atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...
64. It is a silvery-white, malleable and ductile rare-earth
Rare earth element
As defined by IUPAC, rare earth elements or rare earth metals are a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium...
metal. It is found in nature only in combined (salt) form. Gadolinium was first detected spectroscopically in 1880 by de Marignac
Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac
Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac was a Swiss chemist whose work with atomic weights suggested the possibility of isotopes and the packing fraction of nuclei and whose study of the rare earth elements led to his discovery of ytterbium in 1878 and codiscovery of gadolinium in 1880.- Life and work...
who separated its oxide and is credited with its discovery. It is named for gadolinite
Gadolinite, sometimes also known as Ytterbite, is a silicate mineral which consists principally of the silicates of cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, yttrium, beryllium, and iron with the formula 2FeBe2Si2O10...
, one of the minerals in which it was found, in turn named for geologist
A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth as well as the processes and history that has shaped it. Geologists usually engage in studying geology. Geologists, studying more of an applied science than a theoretical one, must approach Geology using...
Johan Gadolin was a Finnish chemist, physicist and mineralogist. Gadolin discovered the chemical element yttrium...
. The metal was isolated by Lecoq de Boisbaudran
Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran
Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran was a French chemist known for his discoveries of the chemical elements gallium, samarium and dysprosium.-Biography:...
Gadolinium metal possesses unusual metallurgic
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...
properties, with as little as 1% of gadolinium improving the workability and resistance of iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...
Chromium is a chemical element which has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6. It is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is also odorless, tasteless, and malleable...
, and related alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...
s to high temperatures and oxidation.