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Rare earth metals belong to Group IIIA of the periodic table that includes scandium, yttrium, and the lanthanide elements which are lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium. This article classifies the rare earth metals based on their purity level, which are designated as research grades (>99.8% pure) and commercial grades (95% - 98% pure), and describes the preparation and purification, including solid-state electrolysis. It further discusses physical, mechanical, and chemical properties; electronic configurations; crystal structures, and explains the alloy forming characteristics of rare earth elements. The article concludes by describing the various applications of commercial-grade rare earth elements and commercial alloys, which incorporates rare earth elements as additives.

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