Lanthanum and Cerium going to rule the world

Toyota says they will be replacing up to half the neodymium in them with the more abundant, lower-cost rare earths lanthanum and cerium in Electric motor.

APPLICATIONS:

  •    Power steering

  •     Robots

  •     House hold appliances

DIFFICULTIES IN NEODYMIUM:

  • Nd2Fe14B alloys have exceptionally high intrinsic magnetocrystalline anisotropy, making them very difficult to magnetise any direction other than their preferred one.

  • That originates specifically from neodymium’s unpaired electrons, and helps make the magnets coercive.

  • Meanwhile the large proportion of iron means that such alloys can be strongly magnetic.

  • cerium and lanthanum cost $5-$8/kg (£4-6), compared to $45-$70/kg for neodymium.

  • Neodymium has high  coercivity.

PROPERTIES OF LANTHANUM AND CERIUM:

  •  These elements are much more abundant than neodymium, but due to their lower intrinsic anisotropy direct replacement produces much less coercive alloy.

TOYOTA’S INNOVATION:

  • One of its innovations is making grains largely from Cerium and Lanthanum.

  • Grains size is reduced to increase Coercivity.

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