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Named after the continent Europe, the element europium is a silvery metal, similar in hardness to lead that is a relatively soft metal. Research has revealed that europium is a very reactive element – the most reactive and rarest Lanthanide. This element ignites in air at temperatures between 150°C–180°C and reacts quite violently in oxygen and water.
In industry, europium is employed as a phosphorus activator to produce the red colour in television tubes. Other minor applications include the use of europium in X-ray screens, in nuclear reactor control rods as neutron absorbers, in super-conducting alloys, and as a material in the manufacture of lasers.