Scientists at Toyota have developed a new heat-resistant magnet that uses “significantly less” neodymium, a rare earth element commonly used in magnets for electric motors.
Neodymium is critical for maintaining magnetization at high temperatures. The amount of neodymium in Toyota’s magnets has been reduced by up to 50 percent, partially replaced with lower-priced rare earths lanthanum and cerium.
This would normally lead to a decrease in motor performance. However, Toyota said it is using “new technologies” to suppress the loss of magnetization and heat resistance to produce a magnet that is just as heat-resistant as a magnet containing notably more neodymium.
“This new type of magnet is expected to be useful in expanding use of motors in various areas such as automobiles and robotics, as well as maintaining a balance between the supply and demand of valuable rare earth resources,” Toyota said.