American Elements

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American Elements
Industry Basic Materials
Founded 1997
Founder Michael Silver
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, United States
Area served
Products Chemicals and Metals

American Elements is a global manufacturer and distributor of the elements on the periodic table with a 10,000 page online compendium of information on the properties and uses of the elements.[1] The company's headquarters and educational programs are based in Los Angeles, California. Its research and production facilities are located in Salt Lake City, Utah; Monterrey, Mexico; Baotou, China; and Manchester, UK.[2]


American Elements began as a toll chemical manufacturer and refiner serving U.S. mining companies by producing metal based chemicals from their deposits. In 1998, its two largest customers, the Unocal/Molycorp rare earth mine in Mountain Pass, California and the Rhodia rare earth refinery in Freeport, Texas closed, ending domestic U.S. rare earth production. In response, the company established mining joint ventures in Inner Mongolia, China and in 1999 became one of the first post cold war companies to export rare earth metals from China to the U.S. and Europe.[3]

Over the following decade the company expanded operations to include production of all elements on the periodic table and established educational programs, scholarships and scientific conferences to educate the public on the properties and applications of the elements. In 2001, it founded its website, which is a compendium of information on the periodic table, the elements and the uses of advanced materials.[1]

That same year, the company established its research & development department with the stated goal of developing new materials and the cost effective processes necessary to scale their production to bulk quantities. Materials with application promise that could not be effectively scaled were abandoned in favor of materials and technologies that had the added benefit of being producible at costs in line with their commercial application.[4] Many of the technologies and materials developed at American Elements were co-designed and co-developed with technology partners (See table below). The company develops and commercializes technology materials in partnership with the U.S. military and 30% of the Fortune 50 list of companies.[5]

American Elements Innovations[edit]

Year Innovation Participants
2001 American Elements Develops Low Cost Fuel Cell Material for the U.S. Department of Energy U.S. Department of Energy
2002 American Elements Invents Rapid Dissolve Pharmaceutical Powder for Bristol-Myers Squibb Bristol-Myers Squibb
2002 American Elements Synthesizes New Optical Crystal Structure for U.S. Military Oak Ridge National Laboratory
2003 American Elements Invents Additive for X-Ray Imaging of Dental Amalgams DenMat
2004 American Elements Creates and Launches Anti-Microbial Nanopowder for Use in Textiles W.L. Gore & Associates
2004 American Elements Produces Gadolinium Nitrate Heavy Water for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
2005 American Elements Assists Univar in Developing Next Generation Crop Additives Univar
2005 American Elements Launches First Ultra High Temperature Lubricant for Oil Refineries Shell
2007 American Elements Assists General Electric in the Development and Launch of the Reveal™ Light Bulb General Electric
2008 American Elements Assists Toyota in Development of Low Platinum Catalytic Converter Toyota
2010 American Elements Cooperates in Development Ultra White Coating for Satellite Applications NASA
2010 American Elements Develops New Organometallic Electronic Coating for Hewlett-Packard Hewlett-Packard
2011 American Elements Cooperates with ArcelorMittal in Development of Unique Steel Grade ArcelorMittal
2014 American Elements Aids Intel in Creating a Novel Dielectric Coating Intel

Product Lines[edit]

The advanced materials manufactured by the company include:


The company has made several new discoveries in materials science. These include:

  • Gadolinium nitrate made with heavy water ( Gd(NO3)3 2H20 ) for use as a neutron "getter" during nuclear reactor maintenance
  • A rare earth compound used as a dry film lubricant at extremely high temperatures and pressures
  • A nanoscale "quick dissolve" powder used in pharmaceuticals
  • Iridium parts for the jewelry industry, most notably pure iridium rings and wedding bands.[6] The company established Smithson Tennant,[7] a new wholly owned subsidiary in November, 2016 to make and market its iridium jewelry production

Educational Programs[edit]

In 2006, the company established the not-for-profit American Elements Academics & Periodicals Department. The department provides information on (1) the ways elemental advanced materials are used,[8] (2) global issues effecting the mining and production of the elements[9] such as Sino-American relations,[10] and (3) ways to improve the teaching of science at all grade levels.[3] Since its founding, the department has sponsored approximately 320 conferences on materials science, the elements, mining, and physics. In 2011, it co-sponsored, along with the National Science Foundation, a four-part PBS Nova television series on materials science called "Making Stuff". The department promotes improved transparency in global metal markets.[11] It believes future global rare earth prices tend to move upward or downward in reaction to China’s then projected GDP (gross domestic product).[12][13] The company publishes an annual Endangered Elements List naming that year's top 5 elements that due to their geopolitical scarcity pose a threat to the future of American high technology manufacturing.[14]

Selected Business Units[edit]


  1. ^ a b "NASDAQ, Rare Earth Junior Mines". May 22, 2012. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  2. ^ The Washington Post Post TV (January 23, 2012). "Bloomberg, Pimm Fox Show, Rare Earth Elements". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  3. ^ a b "Optical Society of America, 2012 Executive Series". June 27, 2012. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  4. ^ "American Elements CEO addresses the New York Mineralogical Club, Oct 9, 2013 (Video)". American Elements. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  5. ^ "American Elements: About the Company". American Elements. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  6. ^ "Diamond World, American Elements introduces new Iridium metal to jewellery manufacturing". October 3, 2009. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  7. ^ "Iridium Rings | AMERICAN ELEMENTS®". Retrieved 2016-11-03. 
  8. ^ "The RealSide". Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Mining News: China moves to gain high-tech dominance". 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  10. ^ "REUTERS, WRAPUP 4-US, EU, Japan take on China at WTO over rare earths". March 13, 2012. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  11. ^ "NTDTV, Business Delegates Lambast China's Rare Earth Mineral Restrictions". 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  12. ^ Onstad, Eric (2012-09-19). "Analysis: Rare earth prices to erode on fresh supply, China". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  13. ^ "Chris, Cann. "Time for Change." ''Mining Journal'' (28 Feb. 2014): 15-16. Mining Journal. Web. 04 Apr. 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  14. ^ "Industry input on critical minerals – the Endangered Elements List". 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  15. ^ "AE Press Releases". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 

External links[edit]