Karl A. Gschneidner and fellow scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory have created a new magnetic alloy—a potential replacement for high-performance permanent magnets found in automobile engines and wind turbines--eliminates the use of one of the scarcest and costliest rare earth elements, dysprosium, and instead uses cerium, the most abundant rare earth.
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“The textbook said we should see slow, gradual and random. But what we saw? BOOM! Fast, explosive and organized!” said Michael Tringides, physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and a professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University.
Tringides is talking about the unusual atom movement he saw when they dropped a few thousand lead atoms onto a flat, smooth lead-on-silicon surface, all at low temperatures, and looked at an area just one-twentieth the width of a human hair
Iver Anderson, Ames Laboratory senior metallurgist, has been named a 2015 Fellow of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS). Anderson is one of six new Society members who have earned the highest award bestowed by TMS, which recognizes members for their outstanding contributions to the practice of metallurgy, materials science, and technology. The 2015 Fellows were recognized at the 144th TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition held March 15–19, 2015.
The Critical Materials Institute, a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by the Ames Laboratory, has created a new chemical process that makes use of the widely available rare-earth metal cerium to improve the manufacture of nylon. The process uses a cerium-based material made into nanometer-sized particles with a palladium catalyst to produce cyclohexanone, a key ingredient in the production of nylon. Traditional methods of producing cyclohexanone involve high temperatures and high pressure, and necessitate the use of hydrogen.
Scientists at the Critical Materials Institute have developed a two-step recovery process that makes recycling rare-earth metals easier and more cost-effective. Rare-earth metals are valuable ingredients in a variety of modern technologies and are found in cell phones, hard disk drives in computers, and other consumer electronics, which are frequently discarded for newer and more up-to-date versions.