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Recycling rare-earth magnets could solve lanthanide supply problems


An environmentally friendly method for separating neodymium and samarium from transition metals like iron, cobalt and zinc has been developed by chemists. The technique employs solvent extraction using an ionic liquid to separate metal ions, without the need for organic diluents or extraction agents.

Rare-earth metals are crucial to the production of modern electronics and power generation devices, such as wind turbines, but their supply is under risk. Recycling magnets at the end of their useful life could represent an important alternative supply route.

Original publication:

T V Hoogerstraete, Green Chem., 2013

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