The purity of rare earth metals is one of the most important factors to research and develop high technique materials. However, high purity rare earth metals are not easily achieved. This review summarizes the preparation and purification methods of rare earth metals. First, the preparation principle and process of molten salt electrolysis and metal thermal reduction are introduced. The main sources of metallic impurities and interstitial impurities in rare earth metals as well as the action mechanism of reducing the concentration of different impurities are analyzed and summarized. Then, the purification principle and process of vacuum distillation, arc melting, zone melting, and solid state electromigration are also discussed. Furthermore, the removal effect and function rule of metallic impurities and interstitial impurities in rare earth metals are outlined. Finally, the crucial issues in the development of high purity rare earth metals are put forward, and the development direction of high purity rare earth metals in future are pointed out on this basis.
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