NdFeB Permanent Magnet Recycling Through Liquid Metal Extraction
Rare Earth Elements (REE) are commonly utilized in the aerospace, defense, automotive, electrical, oil, and medical industries. In 2011, China produced 95% of the world's demand of REEs with the majority of their production coming from mining operations. Due to China's overwhelming market share, and the crucial applications in which REE are used, concerns over future supply have been raised. As such, recycling methods for REE need to be developed to help ensure future supply needs are met. Previously conducted research has shown that Neodymium is able to be extracted from NdFeB permanent magnets when placed into a crucible with liquid magnesium. From this, two potential recycling methods were identified. Creation of Mg-RE master alloy, or selective replacement of WE43 and WE54 magnesium alloys. Samples of extracted Nd are being produced in an Argon backfilled environment with varying sized scrap to determine the effect on the REE diffusion constants. Future tests and analysis will include producing test samples of new WE43 to be subjected to mechanical testing. In addition, an economic analysis will be conducted to assess the viability of the alloy.