You are here

Inquiry 2010, Issue 2

Welcome to 
Inquiry 2010Issue 2

"The Rare Earth Issue"

This issue of Inquiry highlights rare-earth elements which play a vital role in just about every new technology from consumer electronics and cell phones to hybrid car batteries and generator motors in wind turbines. We discuss the Ames Laboratory's role as an international leader in rare-earth research and  look at the current crisis caused by China's monopoly as the source of rare-earth oxides, on-going research efforts at Ames Laboratory to find potential substitutes for these materials and efforts to develop techniques for reclaiming and recycling industrial and post consumer waste.

Inquiry is a biannual science magazine highlighting research at Ames laboratory. Below you'll find links to the individual articles. To download a pdf version of the complete issue, click here or on the cover image (at right).

For additional information about the Ames Laboratory or any of the topics covered in this publication, please contact:

Inquiry Editor
Ames Laboratory
111 TASF
Ames, IA 50011-3020
(515) 294-9557


 Karl Gschneidner, Jr. "Mr. Rare Earth" Speaks Out
Ames Laboratory senior metallurgist Karl Gschneidner Jr. is known around the world for his research on rare-earth materials. That expertise took him to Capitol Hill earlier this year where he provided key testimony before a House subcommittee looking into a potential worldwide shortage of rare-earth elements. (Go to article)
 Rare-earth reduction The Root of Rare-earth Research
Since its inception, the Ames Laboratory has been rooted in rare-earth research. The Lab's Materials Preparation Center is the world's leading supplier of research-grade, high-purity rare-earth samples. Take a look at what it takes to turn a rare-earth oxide into a top quality sample. (Go to article)
 Iver Anderson Where Do We Go from Here?
Low prices and a lack of competition created a rare-earth monopoly for China. As demand and prices have risen, what can be done to boost supplies? We talk to Ames Laboratory and industry experts to get their opinions on how to address the shortage and what the future holds. (Go to article)
 New Ames Laboratory neodymium-iron-boron magnet Developing Cheaper, Greener Magnets
Ames Laboratory researchers have come up with a new way to produce neodymium-iron-boron magnets that reduces costs as well as the harmful byproducts that result from traditional manufacturing methods. (Go to article)
 Scrap pile Mining the Scrap Pile
While a shortage of raw rare-earth materials looms, could the solution be as close as the nearest landfill? Ames Laboratory researchers are taking a look at reclaiming rare-earth materials from postconsumer waste and industrial scrap, but the challenges are many. (Go to article)
 Ames Laboratory scientist in training  Training the Next Generation
Raw materials aren't the only commodity in short supply when it comes to rare earths. A lack of funding for rare-earth related research could potentially lead to a shortage of young researchers pursuing careers in the field. Read how the Ames Laboratory continues a long tradition of training the next generation of materials scientists. (Go to article)
  Director's Message