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Method for Synthesizing Magnet Alloys via Thermal Spray Using Recycled Material

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary
Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a method to recycle rare earth elements (REE) waste from magnet processing as well as REE from end-of-life magnets using a very simple and economical process.  The process involves creating new magnetic material through a thermal spray technique, resulting in magnets with slightly lower magnetic performance (compared to sintered or bonded magnets produced from virgin material) but with much greater flexibility in magnet geometry and thickness than conventionally produced magnets.

Rare earth magnets play an essential role in many alternative energy technologies, electric cars, and in consumer electronic devices, but manufacturing of the magnets results in a substantial amount of waste REE material that is often not economical to recycle.  Similarly, recycling of REE from end of life products, in particular magnets from hard disk drives, is rarely pursued because of the economics of the processes.

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process to recycle magnet swarf and end-of-life magnet materials by producing new magnet materials through a thermal spray process.  The resultant magnet materials fall into the performance regime of the so-called “gap magnets”, with performance and expected cost between low-performance ferrous magnets and high-priced rare earth permanent magnets.  Importantly, using a plasma spray for deposition of the magnet materials allows for unique and thin geometries that would be difficult to produce using conventional manufacturing techniques.

• Low cost recycling method
• Gap magnet production with potential for unique and thin geometries
• Simple and economical processing
Applications and Industries

Recycling of waste and end-of-life magnets into gap magnet material

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To: Mark Juetten<>