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This content will become publicly available on May 27, 2017

Title: Applied magnetism: A supply-driven materials challenge

Permanent magnets are important in many green energy technologies including wind turbine generators and hybrid-electric vehicle motors. For these applications, volume and weight are important factors driving the overall design, and therefore a high energy density, or energy product, is an important figure of merit. This quantity defines the magnetic energy contained in a given volume of material, and so higher energy density magnets enable smaller, lighter applications. Currently, the most powerful magnets suitable for commercial purposes contain rare earth elements (REE), usually neodymium and dysprosium in the neodymium-iron-boride class of magnets. However, for select applications, often requiring high temperatures, samarium cobalt is the alloy of choice. These magnets have energy densities several times greater than their nearest non-REE-based competitor, which for some applications is the defining factor in creating a viable device. The global supply of these REE is overwhelmingly produced in China, which in 2015 mined more than ten times as much as the next largest producer (Australia). Such market domination effectively creates a single source of supply, leaving industries which rely on REE consumption susceptible to price shocks and supply disruptions of these critical materials. Furthermore, this supply sensitivity may act as a drag on the adaptationmore » rate of green energy technologies, particularly for large-scale users.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1047-4838
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 68; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1047-4838
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States