Novel reactive anode for electrochemical extraction of rare earth metals from rare earth oxides

Aida Abbasalizadeh, Seshadri Seetharaman, Prakash Venkatesan, Jilt Sietsma, Yongxiang Yang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


Electrolytic production of metallic neodymium is carried out in fused fluoride salts containing neodymium oxide. Two major challenges pertaining to neodymium production are (a) low oxide solubility, (b) possibility of anodic fluorine gas evolution if the electrolysis rate exceeds feeding rate of neodymium oxide. In this study, a novel method is proposed in which iron fluoride (FeF3) is used as a fluorinating agent to convert neodymium oxide into neodymium fluoride. Electron Probe Micro Analysis (EPMA) results of as-converted salt show a complete conversion of neodymium oxide into neodymium fluoride. In the electrolysis process, iron is used as a reactive anode with electrochemical dissolution of iron into the melt, thus preventing fluorine gas evolution at the anode. Therefore, the fluorinating agent is constantly regenerated in situ which enables the continuous conversion of neodymium oxide feed. The cathodic product is a Nd–Fe alloy which can be directly used as a master alloy for the production of NdFeB permanent magnets.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRare Metal Technology 2017
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
EditorsHojong Kim, Shafiq Alam, Neale R. Neelameggham, Harald Oosterhof, Takanari Ouchi, Xiaofei Guan
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-51085-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-51084-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventTMS 2017 - 146th Annual Meeting & Exhibition - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 26 Feb 20172 Mar 2017

Publication series

NameThe Minerals, Metals & Materials Series
ISSN (Print)2367-1181


ConferenceTMS 2017 - 146th Annual Meeting & Exhibition
Abbreviated titleTMS 2017
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Rare earth
  • Electrochemical extraction
  • Reactive anode

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