Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Injection Molded and Big Area Additive Manufactured NdFeB Bonded Permanent Magnets

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2023-01-19
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Kulkarni, Sameer
Zhao, Fu
Nlebedim, Ikenna C.
Fredette, Robert
Paranthaman, Mariappan Parans
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Iowa State University Digital Repository, Ames IA (United States)
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Ames National Laboratory
Abstract
Permanent magnets are expected to play a crucial role in the realization of the clean economy. In particular, the neodymium–iron–boron (Nd2Fe14B or NdFeB) magnets, which have the highest energy density among rare earth permanent magnets, are needed for building more efficient windmill generators, electric vehicle motors, etc. Currently, near-net shape magnets can be either made through sintering and compression molding with extensive post machining or directly through injection molding. However, injection molding has a loading volume fraction limitation of 0.65 for nylon binders. A novel method of manufacturing bonded permanent magnets with loading fraction greater than 0.65 has been demonstrated using big area additive manufacturing (BAAM) printers. As energy density is directly proportional to the square of the magnet loading fraction, magnets produced using BAAM printers require less volume and magnetic material compared to that of injection molded magnets on average. A comparative life cycle assessment shows that this difference in magnetic powder consumption nearly constitutes the difference in the environmental impact categories. Even after assuming recycled magnetic input, the BAAM magnets perform better environmentally than injection molded magnets, especially in the ozone depletion category. Since BAAM printers can accommodate even higher loading fractions, at scale, BAAM printers possibly can bring about a significant decrease in rare earth mineral consumption and environmental emissions. Furthermore, single screw extrusion enables BAAM printers to have high print speeds and allow them to be economically competitive against injection molding. Therefore, BAAM printed magnets show great promise in transitioning towards the clean economy.
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This is a manuscript of an article published as Kulkarni, Sameer, Fu Zhao, Ikenna C. Nlebedim, Robert Fredette, and Mariappan Parans Paranthaman. "Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Injection Molded and Big Area Additive Manufactured NdFeB Bonded Permanent Magnets." Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering 145, no. 5 (2023): 051001. DOI: 10.1115/1.4056489. Copyright 2023 ASME. Posted with permission. DOE Contract Number(s): AC02-07CH11358; AC05-00OR22725
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