Rare Earth Magnets – The Story Behind Rare Earth Metals
You’ve reached the right place if you have ever been curious about rare earth magnets. This article will examine the history of rare metals from their mining through production and demand to patents. The podcast Quartz Obsession is also available. Are you interested in learning more about the history of precious metals like gold and silver? Get the full scoop with this in-depth analysis of rare earth magnets. It’s time to learn about them.
The mining of rare earths has become a highly competitive business. In the future, there will be a shortage due to the high demand for solar energy and electric cars. China is one of the top sources of rare earths. Some countries have classified these materials as strategic, and the recent restrictions on exports have spurred research to find ways to make strong magnets without the metals. However, the prospect of making such materials available to the world is not without risk.
The production of rare earth magnets begins with a material alloy. The alloy is made by strip casting with known impurities. The alloy is then melted with a high frequency magnetic field. The melted alloy is kept at a high temperature of 1350 degrees Fahrenheit. The melted alloy is then squared and cut to final shape. The final step of processing includes heat treatment.
The demand for rare earth magnets is expected to grow by a significant amount in the coming years. The high demand for these magnets is mainly due to their use in various industrial applications. Permanent magnets, which are a key component of modern electronics, are made of rare earth elements. These magnets are light in weight and offer better induction. These magnets are used in electric motors to produce more power. They are also found in medical devices.
China is the largest supplier of rare metals in the world and it continues to expand its patent portfolio. Since 2010, China has filed 25,911 patents on rare earth magnets with the European Union filing 13,920, while Japan has filed 7,280. PatentManiac.com data shows that China is the largest source of rare earth magnets. China has a solid position within the field due to its investments in mining equipment and processing plants. China is expected to gain competitive advantages through patents for rare earths.
China’s entry into the market has a significant impact
After the World Trade Organization had ruled against REE exports, China began to restrict REE exports in 2010. With EV adoption picking up and wind power gaining popularity, domestic demand is expected to rise, too. China’s explosive expansion of magnets production has resulted in a fragmented domestic marketplace. Most producers produce fewer than 1,500 tons of NdFeB magnets annually, and only about 15% of these are high-performance.
Alternatives to Mining
Many countries have significant deposits of rare earth magnets, which can be mined and refined. The use of rare earth elements is in electronics, alternative energy and aerospace. Among these end uses is the manufacture of permanent magnets, which accounts for 29% of the global demand forecast through 2020. For many electronic applications including cell phones and computers, permanent magnets are crucial. But mining and refining these materials can be costly and energy-intensive.
Alternatives to separation of rare earth metals
The recent breakthroughs in the research of a scientist at the Marshallton Research Laboratories in North Carolina have provided insight into cost-effective and environmentally friendly methods for the separation of rare earth metals. The new process uses chemical processes to separate neodymium and dysprosium with 99% purity. But the method is still far from being a viable replacement for the traditional liquid-liquid extraction process.