Expensive rare-earth elements used in neodymium-iron-boron permanent magnets can be partly replaced by a more abundant cerium without significantly compromising the magnetic properties. In this study, we investigated the effects that cerium addition has on the corrosion resistance of Nd-Fe-B magnets. The cerium-alloyed magnet grade was compared to two Ce-free magnet materials, a standard-grade Nd-Fe-B and a Co-alloyed magnet grade, with respect to microstructure and corrosion behaviour. The microstructure of the magnets was characterized by scanning electron microscopy, with the location of Ce being of primary interest. The magnets were exposed to electrochemical measurements and accelerated corrosion tests. Although the amount of the corrosion-sensitive grain-boundary phase was higher in the Ce-alloyed magnets than in the other two magnet grades, the overall corrosion behaviour was in many ways comparable to that of the Co-alloyed grade magnet, e.g., showing a slight increase in open circuit potential as compared to the standard grade magnet. In accelerated tests, corrosion of the Fe-rich phase was equal to the other magnet grades. Pulverization of the Ce-alloyed magnet was not detected during the accelerated tests, similarly to the Co-alloyed grade.
- Rare earth alloys and compounds
- Scanning electron microscopy
- Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy