Dysprosium is a rare chemical element which has symbol Dy and has atomic number 66. It is never found as a free element, but has its presence in various minerals which include fergusonite, gadolinite, and xenotime among others. It is obtained from ion-adsorption clay ores of southern China. Dysprosium is a naturally occurring element which consists of seven isotopes among which 164Dy is the most abundant. It is has a metallic, bright silver luster and soft enough which can be cut with knife. Physical characteristics of dysprosium can be affected by very small amount of impurities. Dysprosium has the highest magnetic strength among other elements. In addition, holmium has the same magnetic strength as that of dysprosium. Production of dysprosium is done primarily from monazite sand which is a mixture of various phosphates. The applications of dysprosium include manufacture of laser materials, commercial lightning, studying chemical reactions, used in neutron absorbing rods in nuclear reactors and are widely used in various data storage applications that include hard disks.
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The key drivers for the growth of dysprosium market include the demand from automobile manufacturing companies owing to large demand of dysprosium for manufacture of batteries which consume several pounds of rare earth elements. Moreover, dysprosium is also employed in manufacture of neodymium-iron-boron high permanent magnets which is injected into joints to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Hence, large demand from the healthcare sector is also expected to fuel the demand of dysprosium in the market. Asia Pacific is said to be the greatest consumer of dysprosium owing to dominant producer of rare earth elements.
The key players in the dysprosium market are: Lynas (Australia), Arafura (Australia), Molycorp (California), Avalon (Canada), Greenland Minerals, Tasman Metals Ltd. and Quest Rare Minerals among others.
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