Toyota announced that it has developed the world’s first neodymium reduced, heat resistant magnet as of January 2018.
These magnets are used in a variety of motors, such as, high output motors which are found in EVs, the use of which is expected to increase considerably in the future as EVs become more commonplace.
The new magnet uses significantly less neodymium, a rare earth element (a group of 17 elements with similar properties), and can be used in high temperature conditions..
The newly developed magnet uses no terbium (Tb) or dysprosium (Dy), which are rare earths that are also categorised as critical materials necessary for highly heat resistant neodymium magnets, (classed as critical materials as there are only small amounts present within the earth’s crust or extraction proves difficult due to technological or economic reasons).
Lower costing rare earths, lanthanum (La) and cerium (Ce) have replaced part of neodymium used in the magnet
According to the article at Toyota Europe Newsroom (https://newsroom.toyota.eu/toyota-develops-new-magnet-for-electric-motors-aiming-to-reduce-use-of-critical-rare-earth-element-by-up-to-50/), although neodymium plays an important role in maintaining high coercivity (the ability to maintain magnetisation) and heat resistance, just by reducing the amount of neodymium and replacing it with lanthanum and cerium results in a decline in motor performance. Therefore, Toyota adopted new technologies that suppress the deterioration of coercivity and heat resistance, even when neodymium is replaced with lanthanum and cerium, and developed a magnet that has equivalent levels of heat resistance as earlier neodymium magnets, while reducing the amount of neodymium used by up to 50 percent.
This new type of magnet is expected to be useful in expanding use of motors in not only automobiles but also robotics, as well as maintaining a balance between the supply and demand of valuable rare earth resources.
Toyota will work to further enhance performance and evaluate application in products while accelerating the development of mass production technologies, with the aim of achieving early adoption in motors used for various applications, including in automobiles and robotics.
Development of elemental technologies for motors, inverters, batteries, and other components will require steady research and development in anticipation of the future. Toyota positions these technologies as essential for electrified vehicles and will continue making steady progress in all areas.
To read the full article click here www.newsroom.toyota.eu