A method of making a rare earth compound, such as a earth-transition metal permanent magnet compound, without the need for producing rare earth metal as a process step, comprises carbothermically reacting a rare earth oxide to form a rare earth carbide and heating the rare earth carbide, a compound-forming reactant (e.g. a transition metal and optional boron), and a carbide-forming element (e.g. a refractory metal) that forms a carbide that is more thermodynamically favorable than the rare earth carbide whereby the rare earth compound (e.g. Nd.sub.2 Fe.sub.14 B or LaNi.sub.5) and a carbide of the carbide-forming element are formed.
CONTRACTURAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-82 between the Department of Energy and Iowa State University, which contract grants to the Iowas State University Research Foundation, Inc. the right to apply for this patent.