dysprosium oxide (Dy2O3) is a rare earth sesquioxide and is a water insoluble, slightly hygroscopic powder. It is available in various purity grades. Dy2O3 is used for a variety of applications due to its magnetic, optical and catalytic properties.
The atomic number of dysprosium is 66 and it has a silvery metal appearance. This rare element is not found freely in nature but can be extracted from its ores like monazite and bastnasite using the ion exchange technique. It is also present in xenotime, gadolinite, fergusonite, polycrase, euxenite and blomstrandine in smaller amounts.
This element is moderately toxic in its liquid state but solid dysprosium is non-toxic. It is soft and machinable without risk if proper heat control is observed. It is a very reactive metal and can react with oxygen to produce hydride compounds. It is soluble in acids but not in water.
Inhalation of this material may cause irritation to the eyes and skin. Dysprosium salts, chlorides and nitrates are mildly toxic if ingested but the insoluble forms are not toxic. It is estimated that 17 ounces of dysprosium chloride would be fatal to a human.
dysprosium oxide is used in permanent magnets as an additive for neodymium-based magnets to increase their resistance to demagnetization at elevated temperatures. It is also an additive for nuclear reactor control rods and is a component in neutron absorbers. It is also used as a luminescent dosimeter for measuring ion radiation.