Acid-Free Dissolution and Separation of Rare-earth Metals

ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a method to effectively recycle rare earth elements through simple REDOX reactions allowing for aqueous processing. This replaces the need for dangerous and environmentally unfriendly acids.
Abstract: 
(DIV) Rare earth elements (REE) have seen a sharp increase in use in a number of technical materials such as high density and high temperature tolerant permanent magnets, lamp phosphors, catalysts, rechargeable batteries and many other technologies related to a transition to a greener economy. With China controlling more than 90% of REE output and increasingly stringent export quotas, the world at large faces a risk of supply disruption. Recycling of spent materials is therefore crucially important. ISU researchers have developed a novel approach to recycling REEs (particularly neodymium and dysprosium) by dissolving REE containing metal scrap in a reducing aqueous solution. After simple processing of the solubilized material, pure REE-oxides can be recovered. Recovery yield of the REE-oxides are typically greater than 95%. The use of aqueous reduction to dissolve the REE replaces the need for environmentally unfriendly acid use.
Benefits: 
(DIV) -• Cost effective and time efficient -• Environmentally friendly -• Expected to scale efficiently -• Applicable to small or large scale operation -(TD) -(TD) (DIV)
applications: 
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
4443
Lab Representatives
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