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Ensuring the future affordability of wind turbines, computers and electric cars

Date:
June 1, 2016
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Technologies from wind turbines to electric vehicles rely on critical materials called rare-earth elements. These elements, though often abundant, can be difficult and increasingly costly to come by. Now, scientists looking for alternatives have reported a new way to make nanoparticles that could replace some rare-earth materials and help ensure the continued supply of products people have come to depend on.
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Technologies from wind turbines to electric vehicles rely on critical materials called rare-earth elements. These elements, though often abundant, can be difficult and increasingly costly to come by. Now, scientists looking for alternatives have reported in ACS' journal Chemistry of Materials a new way to make nanoparticles that could replace some rare-earth materials and help ensure the continued supply of products people have come to depend on.

Rare-earth elements have unique characteristics that make them very useful. For example, the world's strongest magnets are made with neodymium. A little too powerful for your refrigerator, these magnets are incorporated into computer disk drives, power windows and wind turbines. But rare earths are challenging to mine and process, and prices can rise quickly in a short period of time. Given the increasing demand for rare earths, Alberto López-Ortega, Claudio Sangregorio and colleagues set out to find substitutes for use in strong magnets.

The researchers used a mixed iron-cobalt oleate complex in a one-step synthetic approach to produce magnetic core-shell nanoparticles. The resulting materials showed strong magnetic properties and energy-storing capabilities. Their approach could signal an efficient new strategy toward replacing rare earths in permanent magnets and keeping costs stable, the researchers say.


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Journal Reference:

  1. E. Lottini, A. López-Ortega, G. Bertoni, S. Turner, M. Meledina, G. Van Tendeloo, C. de Julián Fernández, C. Sangregorio. Strongly exchange coupled core|shell nanoparticles with high magnetic anisotropy: a strategy towards Rare Earth -free permanent magnets. Chemistry of Materials, 2016; DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b00623

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Ensuring the future affordability of wind turbines, computers and electric cars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160601112605.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2016, June 1). Ensuring the future affordability of wind turbines, computers and electric cars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160601112605.htm
American Chemical Society. "Ensuring the future affordability of wind turbines, computers and electric cars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160601112605.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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