The gadolinium is one of the light elements of rare earths that belong to the Lanthanide series. It is the element that occupies position number 64 of the periodic table. It got its name from gadolinite, a mineral from which the element comes.

  • Symbol: Gd
  • Atomic number: 64
  • Group: 3

What is gadolinium?

The gadolinium is a metal or element of the periodic table that belongs to the group of lanthanides or rare earths, is a ductile material that has a white color, is bright and silver at the same time.

Characteristics of gadolinium

This metal has striking characteristics, among them, we can mention the following:


The gadolinium was discovered in 1880 by Charles Galissard de Marignac in Geneva. The scientist had long suspected that the didymium, an element that had been reported by Carl Mosander, was not a new element but a mixture. His suspicions were finally confirmed when Marc Delafontaine and Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in Paris, reported that their spectral lines varied according to the source from which they came. In fact, in 1879 they had already separated the samarium from a didymium that had been extracted from the samarskite ore found in the Urals. In 1880, Marignac extracted another rare new soil from the didymium, as did Paul-Émile Lecoq of Boisbaudran in 1886, and it was the latter who called it gadolinium.

Who discovered the gadolinium

It was discovered by Charles Galissard de Marignac, but it was Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran who gave it its name in 1886.


Among its main properties we can mention the following:

What is gadolinium for?

The gadolinium is used in the area of medicine to perform and obtain better images when performing MRIs. It is also used in the manufacture of microwaves and color televisions, in the manufacture of amplifiers and professional audio systems. As it has ferromagnetic characteristics, it can be part of the group of elements that make up the magnets. The control rods of the neutral reactors are also constructed with this material. It is also used in magnetic refrigeration at industrial and scientific level.

Side effects

The accumulation of gadolinium in soils and water increases concentrations of both humans, animals and plants. This element is capable of producing different damage to cell membranes, which can affect the reproduction and functions of the nervous system. When used as a contrast medium, it can increase the risk that people with severe kidney failure will develop a trigger for thickening skin, organs, and tissues. This condition is known as nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, which can also occur in people with liver damage. The possible effects of gadolinium on people in the long term are unknown, as it was previously believed to be excreted from the human body quickly, a theory that has already been discarded.

Where it is found

It is found in very small quantities in nature, so it is currently obtained by means of calcium reduction of anhydrous gadolinium fluoride.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.
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