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INL team develops efficient method for separating RE

The date of: 2022-10-11
viewed: 1
INL team develops efficient method for separating rare earth elements and transition metals in magnet scrap


 

source:greencarcongress
Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory have developed a dimethyl ether-driven fractional crystallization process for separating rare earth elements and transition metals. The process has been successfully applied in the treatment of rare earth element-bearing permanent magnet leachates as an atom-efficient, reagent-free separation method.
The process begins with a magnet that’s no longer useful, which is cut and ground into shavings, said Caleb Stetson, lead author. The magnet shavings are then put it into a solution with lixiviants, a liquid used to selectively extract metals from the material. Once the desired metals are leached from the material into the liquid, the researchers can then apply the treatment process.
The dimethyl ether-driven process uses far less energy and pressure than traditional methods, typically conducted at hundreds of degrees Celsius. Fractional crystallization can be carried out at ambient temperatures and requires only slightly elevated pressures of around five atmospheres. In comparison, the pressure in an unopened 12-ounce can of soda is 3.5 atmospheres. The lower energy and pressure needs also save money.
Competing technologies also use added chemical “reagents” to drive precipitation and other separations, which inevitably become additional waste products with financial and environmental consequences. This is not the case with dimethyl ether-based fractional crystallization.



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