Raw materials

Beyond bauxite—researchers explore laterite as an alternative source of aluminum

By Lisa McDonald / September 24, 2021

Bauxite ore is the world’s primary source of aluminum, but concerns about the supply chain have the aluminum industry interested in identifying alternative sources. Researchers in Sri Lanka explored the potential of laterite as an alternative source.

Read More

Video: An easier way to recover rare-earth elements from electric vehicle motor magnets

By Lisa McDonald / September 15, 2021

Batteries are not the only part of electric vehicles that contain critical materials—many electric vehicle motors use rare-earth magnets as well. Nissan and Waseda University developed a five-step pyrometallurgy process to recover rare-earth compounds from electric vehicle motor magnets.

Read More

Reduce, reuse, recycle: How the ceramics industry is growing greener

By Jonathon Foreman / May 11, 2021

Academic and industrial ceramic researchers alike are exploring ways to minimize waste and maximize reuse in ceramics manufacturing. Several articles published in International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology demonstrate the resulting ecological and economic benefits of these activities.

Read More

Video: Recent Greenland election sets new course for rare earth mining operations

By Lisa McDonald / April 14, 2021

Greenland is at the center of many recent discussions on establishing new rare earth mining operations outside of China. Greenland’s election on April 6, however, gave a different party its first-ever chance to form a government, which will likely shape the island’s future mining decisions.

Read More

Bettering tungsten supply: Effects of ceramic and cast-iron grinding media on scheelite flotation

By Lisa McDonald / February 9, 2021

Scheelite is one of the main minerals mined commercially as a source of tungsten. Researchers at Wuhan University of Science and Technology in China investigated the effects of different grinding media on flotation, which is a method for extracting tungsten from scheelite.

Read More

Recycling robot aims to generate separate material waste streams, right in your kitchen

By April Gocha / February 5, 2021

Challenges with recycling systems have resulted in a dead end for many materials. But a new robotic kitchen concept called Lasso has a solution—the appliance can clean, sort, process, and store recyclable materials, generating highly pure recyclable waste streams right at their point of use.

Read More

Evaluating the potential of clay soils for industrial applications: A case study in Mozambique

By Lisa McDonald / November 6, 2020

Clay soils are essential raw materials in the ceramics industry. But how do manufacturers determine the potential of soils for industrial use when scoping out a new clay pit? An open-access study by three researchers in Mozambique shows how they evaluated soil potential based on samples extracted from the Manjacazi district.

Read More

Exploring effects of deep sea mining: Polymetallic nodule extraction may cause long-term reduction of carbon flow throughput

By Lisa McDonald / October 13, 2020

Deep sea mining is of great interest to mining companies, but scientists worry about the environmental impacts. A new study finds extraction of polymetallic nodules will likely reduce ecosystem functioning on at least decadal time scales.

Read More

Data-driven approaches to materials challenges, plus more inside August 2020 ACerS Bulletin

By Lisa McDonald / July 16, 2020

The August 2020 issue of the ACerS Bulletin—featuring data-driven methods to augment experimental methods—is now available online. Plus—USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries

Read More

Sand—a critical material resource with a complicated story and no simple solution

By April Gocha / July 7, 2020

Humans’ voracious sand consumption for infrastructure activities threatens global supply of this critical natural resource. But do we even know how much sand we are consuming worldwide? New research shows that we’ve been calculating the basic unit all wrong.

Read More