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Searching For Alternatives To China's Rare Earth Monopoly 199

KantIsDead writes "MIT's Technology Review adds to the ongoing discussion of China's monopoly on rare earth metals, an issue that was temporarily catapulted to national attention during China's rare earth embargo of Japan. The current article focuses on the search for alternatives to rare earth metals that would undercut China's monopoly and allow nations to develop their industry without fearing the hand of a Chinese embargo. From the article: 'In the US, the Chinese dominance of rare-earth mineral production has prompted a surge of funding focused on developing permanent magnets that use less, if any, rare-earth materials, such as nearly $7 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). In one of these projects, University of Nebraska researchers are working to enhance permanent magnets made with an alloy iron and cobalt, or FeCo. This class of materials is sold today, but delivers half or less of the power of the best rare-earth-based magnets. The Nebraska researchers will focus on ways to dope the structural matrix of these alloys with traces of other elements, thereby rearranging their molecular geometry to create stronger, more durable permanent magnetic materials.'"

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