A method for preparing R.sub.5X.sub.4 alloy materials where R is a rare earth element selected from one or more of La, Ce, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Lu, Sc, and Y and X represents a non-rare earth alloying element such as silicon, germanium, tin, lead, gallium, indium and mixtures thereof. The method involves carbothermically reducing amounts of a rare earth element-containing oxide, an alloying element-containing oxide and/or alloying element in elemental or alloy form, and carbon at elevated temperature to form an R.sub.5X.sub.4 alloy material, which is melted, solidified, and optionally heat treated. Such a method provides an economical and efficient technique of configuring magnetic refrigerant, magnetostrictive and magnetoresistive alloys and products.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
 This invention was made with government support under Contract DE-AC02-07CH11358 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.