MATERIALS TRANSACTIONS
Electrochemical Recovery of Rare Earth Elements from Magnets: Conversion of Rare Earth Based Metals into Rare Earth Fluorides in Molten Salts
Aida AbbasalizadehAnnelies MalflietSeshadri SeetharamanJilt SietsmaYongxiang Yang
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Volume 58 (2017) Issue 3 Pages 400-405

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Abstract

In the present work, selective extraction of rare earth (RE) metals from NdFeB magnets is investigated by studying the effects of various fluxes, viz. AlF3, ZnF2, FeF3 and Na3AlF6 in the LiF-NdFeB system. The aim is to convert RE from RE magnet into the fluoride salt melt. The results show the complete selective separation of neodymium (also dysprosium) from the magnet and formation of rare earth fluoride, leaving iron and boron unreacted. The formed rare earth fluoride can subsequently be processed in the same reactor through an electrolysis route so that RE can be deposited as a cathode product. The results of XRD and EPMA analysis of the reacted samples indicate that AlF3, ZnF2 and FeF3 can act as strong fluorinating agents for extraction of rare earth from NdFeB magnet, converting the RE to REF3.

The results confirm the feasibility of the rare earth metals recovery from scrap NdFeB magnet as raw material. The fluoride conversion-electrolysis route suggested in the present work enables the extraction of rare earth metals in a single step using the above-mentioned fluxes.

Fig. 1 Schematic diagram of the salt extraction process. Fullsize Image
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© 2017 The Japan Institute of Metals and Materials
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