DS03 - Stimuler le renouveau industriel

New recycling process for permanent magnets – RAP

Submission summary

The RAP project addresses the problem of recycling and recovery of permanent magnets based on rare earths, dominated by more than 95% by neodymium-iron-boron (Nd-Fe-B) magnets. Nd-Fe-B magnets find their place in many domestic and industrial applications through electrical and electronic equipments such as high-definition audio systems, small electric motors, air conditioners, computer hard drives ... Permanent magnets are also widely used for the design of MRIs, wind turbine rotors or for the production of missile guidance systems, sensors, aeronautical equipments or for submarines ... Therefore, permanent magnets Nd-Fe-B are indispensable materials in the modern industrial landscape due to their very high magnetic properties and the number of applications associated with them. However, the supply of rare earths can be very volatile, which explains why these elements have been classified as critical and strategic resources by the United States and the European Union (in 2010 and 2011, respectively). In order to mitigate this volatility in the rare earth market, three axes are currently being studied: (i) strategic resources for rare earth states (import and storage or development of mining); (ii) substitution of critical elements (there are no viable alternatives to Nd-Fe-B magnets) and (iii) the use of urban mines, that is, the recycling of waste produced on a daily basis by our industrialized societies. It is in the context of this third solution that the RAP project falls. The object of the RAP project is to study a new recycling process for Nd-Fe-B permanent magnets (sintered magnets, bonded magnets, etc.) which allows the reuse of magnetic grains, mainly composed of the Nd2Fe14B phase, to formulate new magnets (plasto-magnets and sintered magnets). This process proposes an alternative to decrepitation by hydrogen by replacing hydrogen with water. It consists in bringing the Nd-Fe-B magnets into contact with water under moderate pressures and temperatures and leads to the sputtering of the magnet. The RAP project is a 48-month PRCE collaborative project based on the experience and complementarity of academic and industrial partners with expertise ranging from recycling to the manufacture of new magnets and magnetic systems through collection and dismantling.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Cyril AYMONIER (Institut de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Bordeaux)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CEA-LITEN Laboratoire d'Innovation pour les Technologies des Energies nouvelles et les Nanomatériaux
GPM Groupe de physique des matériaux
ICMCB Institut de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Bordeaux

Help of the ANR 497,468 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2017 - 48 Months

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