LCA Study of Rare Earth Metals for Magnesium Alloy Applications
High strength properties combined with low density has made magnesium alloys a highly attractive structural material, in particular where weight savings is of concern. In air and ground transport these alloys are used as alternative material in place of heavier ferrous or aluminium alloys. In this respect, much research has been directed at developing and deploying superior magnesium alloys using rare earth elements (REEs), an example the Mg-RE (Ce, Y, Nd) alloys for drive train components. With the overall aim of ascertaining the environmental impact of employing REEs as alloying agents in producing superior Mg-RE alloys, it is paramount that a fundamental understanding of the environmental burden imparted by the extraction and production of REEs be determined. This study reports on such an assessment of REEs by conducting a detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) study of the environmental impact from mining to production of REEs.
Jian-Feng Nie and Allan Morton
P. Koltun and A. Tharumarajah, "LCA Study of Rare Earth Metals for Magnesium Alloy Applications", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 654-656, pp. 803-806, 2010