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The element cerium, with the chemical symbol Ce, is one of the five rare-earth metals. It is found mostly in combination with the other rare-earth elements, yttrium, lanthanum, neodymium and praseodymium in minerals like monazite and bastnasite. It is the 25th most abundant of all the rare-earth metals and makes up 66 ppm of Earth’s crust.

A team of researchers led by CMI have paired cerium with aluminum to create a new alloy that outperforms the current industry standard for aerospace and defense components. They used neutrons to observe the new alloy’s performance at a high temperature, and they were surprised by its ability to resist damage.

CMI’s research is helping to unlock the full potential of this versatile material by demonstrating how it can be used in automotive applications. In a recent study, the researchers showed that incorporating cerium oxide nanoparticles into diesel fuel significantly reduces harmful exhaust emissions from internal combustion engines.

This is accomplished by the oxygen donating property of the cerium oxide, which provides oxygen for the oxidation of carbon monoxide and absorbs oxygen for the reduction of nitrogen oxides. The fuel-borne ceria also helps to burn off carbon deposits in the engine, which can reduce harmful hydrocarbon and smoke emissions.

The physico-chemical properties of bio diesel fuel samples were modified by adding different dosing levels of cerium oxide nanoparticles. Results of the engine tests revealed that a significant improvement in brake thermal efficiency was observed for the cerium oxide-bio diesel blends. The emissions of HC, CO2 and NOx were appreciably reduced for all the samples.