Cerium(III) oxide

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Cerium(III) oxide
Cerium(III) oxide
CAS number 1345-13-7 YesY
Molecular formula Ce2O3
Molar mass 328.24 g/mol
Appearance yellow/green pulver,
Density 6.2 g/cm3
Melting point 2,177 °C (3,951 °F; 2,450 K)
Boiling point 3,730 °C (6,750 °F; 4,000 K)
Solubility in water insoluble
Solubility in sulfuric acid soluble
Solubility in hydrochloric acid insoluble
Crystal structure Hexagonal, hP5
Space group P-3m1, No. 164
Related compounds
Other anions Cerium(III) chloride
Other cations Lanthanum oxide, Praseodymium(III) oxide
Related compounds CeO2
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
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Infobox references

Cerium(III) oxide is an oxide of the rare earth metal cerium. It has chemical formula Ce2O3, and is gold-yellow in color.


Engine and exhaust catalysts[edit]

Cerium oxide is used as a catalytic converter for the minimisation of CO emissions in the exhaust gases from motor vehicles.

When there is a shortage of oxygen, cerium(IV) oxide is reduced by carbon monoxide to cerium(III) oxide:

2 CeO
+ CO → Ce
+ CO

When there is an oxygen surplus, the process is reversed and cerium(III) oxide is oxidized to cerium(IV) oxide:

2 Ce
+ O
→ 4 CeO

Major automotive applications for cerium(III) oxide are, as a catalytic converter for the oxidation of CO and NOx emissions in the exhaust gases from motor vehicles,[1][2] and secondly, cerium oxide finds use as a fuel additive to diesel fuels, which results in increased fuel efficiency and decreased hydrocarbon derived particulate matter emissions,[3] however the health effects of the cerium oxide bearing engine exhaust is a point of study and dispute.[4][5][6]

Water splitting[edit]

The cerium(IV) oxide–cerium(III) oxide cycle or CeO2/Ce2O3 cycle is a two step thermochemical water splitting process based on cerium(IV) oxide and cerium(III) oxide for hydrogen production.[7]


Cerium(III) oxide combined with tin(II) oxide (SnO) in ceramic form is used for illumination with UV light. It absorbs light with a wavelength of 320 nm and emits light with a wavelength of 412 nm.[8] This combination of cerium(III) oxide and tin(II) oxide is rare, and obtained only with difficulty on a laboratory scale.


Cerium(III) oxide is produced by the reduction of cerium(IV) oxide with hydrogen at approximately 1,400 °C (2,550 °F) to make air stable cerium(III) oxide. Production at other temperatures results in pyrophoric cerium(III) oxide.[9]


External links[edit]