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Upon heating to 731 °C, its crystal symmetry changes into hexagonally close-packed (hcp), however the transition temperature depends on the metal purity.
Further heating to 922 °C transforms the metal into a body-centered cubic (bcc) phase.
The major commercial application of samarium is in samarium–cobalt magnets, which have permanent magnetization second only to neodymium magnets; however, samarium compounds can withstand significantly higher temperatures, above 700 °C (1,292 °F), without losing their magnetic properties, due to the alloy's higher Curie point.
The radioactive isotope samarium-153 is the active component of the drug samarium (Sm) lexidronam (Quadramet), which kills cancer cells in the treatment of lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and osteosarcoma.
It is also formed as a decay product during the reactor operation and is one of the important factors considered in the reactor design and operation.
Samarium occurs with concentration up to 2.8% in several minerals including cerite, gadolinite, samarskite, monazite and bastnäsite, the last two being the most common commercial sources of the element.
These minerals are mostly found in China, the United States, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka and Australia; China is by far the world leader in samarium mining and production.
It is a moderately hard silvery metal that slowly oxidizes in air.
Being a typical member of the lanthanide series, samarium usually assumes the oxidation state 3.
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