> The Application Value of Rare Earth
Known as the "industrial monosodium glutamate" and the "mother of new materials", rare earth has excellent optical, electrical, magnetic, superconducting, catalytic, and other properties. These are widely used in cutting-edge scientific and technological fields (such as new energy, national defense military), and is non-renewable strategic resources. Rare earth elements are used almost everywhere. They have wide and important energy, information, environmental protection, health care, agriculture, and defense applications. These are involved in every aspect of modern life.
China's use of rare earth began in the mid-1960s with cast iron. Over the past half-century, rare earth has been used in a wide range of industries, including nonferrous metallurgy, petrochemicals, glass ceramics, magnetic materials and functional materials, light industry and textiles, agriculture, forestry, and medicine. At present, rare earth permanent magnetic materials, luminescent materials, and hydrogen storage materials have become indispensable raw materials for the modern information industry. These are playing an irreplaceable role in many fields such as computers, electric cars, nuclear magnetic resonance, mobile phones, automobile exhaust purification, liquid crystal display, and superconductivity.
From neodymium in hybrid cars, europium, and yttrium on televisions to lanthanum in camera lenses, rare earth is found in everything from computers to iPod music players. In addition, rare earth has been widely used in defense fields such as laser guidance, radar, reconnaissance satellites, intelligent battlefield vehicles, and automatic command systems. Few high-tech weapons are without rare earth, which are concentrated in the most crucial parts that make these weaponization magic. In this way, rare earth materials are strategic metals related to security and world peace. Kazuyuki Hamada, a representative of the international institute for future science in Japan, once said: "China has 88% of the world's rare earth resources, and is very rich in barium, dysprosium, and indium. Japan and the United States cannot make sophisticated guided weapons without these rare metals." The world's rare-earth industries, which make everything from fiber-optic cables to missile navigation systems, are worth $4.6 trillion.
With the continuous recognition and discovery of rare earth elements' special properties, every three to five years, a new use of rare earth is found. According to some data, one out of every five invention patents in today's world is related to rare earths. Mainly their optical and magnetic properties have been widely used in today's new material and new technology. At present, the functional materials of rare earth have reached more than 50 categories, including optical materials, magnetic materials, electronic materials, nuclear materials, chemical materials, etc. Thus, rare earth was praised as a treasure house of high-tech and functional materials in the new century. It can be said that rare earth has become an important strategic resource in the modern high-tech industry and international competition. The rare earth market is destined to exponentially grow in the coming decades as countries seek to reduce their use of fossil fuels. China is the world's largest exporter of rare earth, and many countries depend on China to some extent. China's decision to restrict exports of rare earth provoked strong reactions in the European Union, the United States, Japan, and South Korea.
Rare earth is a kind of strategic resource. However, these are not like oil shortages. In terms of the current technology and application levels, proven reserves of rare earth are big enough for the world to use for more than 300 years. Although China is the largest country in the rare earth reserves, but the United States, Australia, Canada, and many other countries have many rare earth mines.
Instead of becoming part of any political conspiracy theory, China is trying to solve its own development problems and make its industries bigger and stronger. The intensive development of China's rare earth industry is to leave resources for future generations and contribute to the sustainable development of the world.