Cerium, Cobalt and Copper Alloy doped with Tantalum or/and Iron as a Permanent Magnet Material
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Craig Forney
Commercialization Manager, Chemistry and Materials Sciences
Web Published:
ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have develop a gap magnet that utilizes trace amount of cheaper, abundant and non-critical cerium (Ce) as an alternative to critical rare-earths containing magnet alloys. This invention makes the magnet significantly cheaper and less dependent on supplies of rare-earth materials, with that performance surpasses the levels of commercial ferrite and AlNiCo magnets, and approaches the performance of neodymium-based and samarium cobalt magnets.

Development Stage:
Permanent magnets are broadly classified into four segments based on composition and magnet strength, from low performing and inexpensive iron magnets, to magnetically stronger but more expensive AlNiCo magnets, to higher performing (and particularly valuable for high temperature applications) SmCo magnets, to the most powerful and most expensive NdFeB magnets. Since magnet performance is not a linear function as one moves from one composition to another, there exists gaps in performance between groupings.  Between AlNiCo and SmCo magnets, which serve niche market applications, there is room for a gap magnet with magnetic performance between AlNiCo magnets and SmCo/NeFeB magnets and with an intermediate price as well. 

ISURF #04624 describes a gap magnet family that provides intermediate performance but at a price point closer to that of entry level magnets by substituting the abundant rare earth metal cerium (Ce) in place of samarium in high-flux magnets. Material costs are further reduced by substituting copper and iron for cobalt.  Trace amounts of tantalum in the alloy results in dramatically improved coercivity when compared to baseline alloys. It is also expected that higher usage of Ce will help improve profitability of rare earth mining operations and help address the criticality of the other rare earth elements.

• Retain or/and improve magnetic performance
• Utilize trace amount of abundant, cheaper, non-critical Ceium (Ce) as alternative to critical rare-earths
• Reduce material and processing costs
• Gap magnet addresses applications not being tapped by current magnet technologies.

These gap magnet alloys provide sufficient performance to be a substitute at the low end of NdFeB performance but at a dramatically lower cost.
Patent Information:
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