Some fully dense, sintered NdFeB-type magnets (employed in VCM disc drives) have been subjected to a recycling process using the hydrogen decrepitation (HD) process. After a brief milling treatment, the powder was aligned, pressed and re-sintered and this procedure was repeated four times with a progressive fall in the density and in the magnetic properties. The chemical analysis indicated that this was due to the progressive oxidation of the Nd-rich material and to some Nd loss by evaporation. The procedure was then repeated but with the addition (blending) of a fine powder of neodymium hydride after the first cycle. It was found that the addition of 1 at.% of neodymium at each stage was sufficient to maintain the density and the magnetic properties of the recycled magnets up to and including the 4th cycle. Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) and metallographic analysis indicated that the neodymium hydride additions compensated for the neodymium loss due to evaporation and to oxidation so that the proportion of Nd-rich material remained approximately constant. The additional amount of Nd2O3 in the blended recycled magnets appeared to inhibit grain growth on the 3rd and 4th cycles when compared to that of the unblended magnets. The next challenge is to see if the process can be scaled-up to an industrial scale. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Hydrogen decrepitation
- Grain growth
- Scrap magnets
- Recycling sintered NdFeB-type magnets
- Powder metallurgy
- Recovery of magnetic parameters