Neodymium Metal Cube 99.5%

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Neodymium Metal Cube 99.5%

56.00

Now meet neodymium of strong magnet fame. Much like any other metal pure neodymium is gray as gray gets. That's pure neodymium. When it comes into contact with air - BAM! - oxygen pairs up with the cube's outermost atoms to form a black oxide. You can get rid of the oxidation with a stiff brush perhaps and again it looks all too briefly like the second photo. But inevitably it starts to darken and darken and darken some more - if left out to dry in air eventually, welll... see photo #3. 

You'll recall that the very air we breathe and cannot live without rusts the iron in our lungs and gives blood its crimson hue; a reversible process whose cycle begins anew when tissue cells take that oxygen atom and send the blood back to fetch more. Neodymium, too, is quite susceptible to oxygen's spell and just like iron its rust flakes off the main body so that in time all you're left with is a powdery pile of oxides.

Keeping it looking like that second photo would require either a vacuum or to be constantly bathed in an atmosphere of an inert gas that doesn't react with neodymium. Short of that, leaving it in mineral oil will turn it black but at least preserve it indefinitely. You can still take it out, dry it off and play with it but we strongly recommend you don't forget to put it back in the oil or it will eventually decompose.

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