Preparation, evaluation and characterization of rare earth alloys directly from oxide intermediates 

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image shows two slender rods with varying amounts of sediment (these are anodes after cleaning)
State of the anodes after cleaning (water wash). No perceptible thinning/degradation/mass loss could be observed. Anodes are 6x100 mm

CMI researchers at Idaho National Laboratory conducted the research for this highlight

Innovation 
Two rare earth alloys (NdFe and SmCox) were prepared from the respective mixed oxide precursors (Nd2O3+Fe2O3 and Sm2O3+CoO) using a green technology. 

Achievement

  • Electrochemical reduction process resulted in the generation of oxygen, and not the oxides of carbon, as the anode gas.
  • Two monolithic anode materials (iridium, Ir, and ruthenium, Ru) were used. Both showed no signs of degradation in the extreme environment (CaCl2 + 1-5% CaO + 800o C+ oxidizing atmosphere). Related efforts with Ir/Ru coated anodes underway.
  • The technology [Robust Anodes for Electrochemical Systems in Extreme Environments (Robust Monolithic Anode)] is listed as one of the finalists in the 2022 R&D 100 Awards.

Significance and Impact
Cost-effective preparation of rare earth-transition metal alloys. 

Hub Target Addressed 
Development of a green as well as inexpensive manufacturing option to produce metallic products (proof-of-the-concept was established).