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Samarium is a silvery-white metal belonging to the lanthanide group of the periodic table. It is relatively stable at room temperature in dry air, but it ignites when heated above 150°C and forms an oxide coating in moist air. Like europium samarium has a relatively stable oxidation state (II).
Samarium is used as a catalyst in certain organic reactions: the samarium iodide (SmI2) is used by organic research chemists to make synthetic versions of natural products. The oxide, samaria, is used for making special infrared adsorbing glass and cores of carbon arc-lamp electrodes and as a catalyst for the dehydration and dehydrogenation of ethanol. Its compound with cobalt (SmCo5) is used in making a new permanent magnet material