High Purity Rare Earth Separation

Project number: 
ReOx Corp
Academic year: 
The High Purity Rare Earth Separation project focuses on recycling materials that are a byproduct of aerospace industry manufacturing processes, reducing the industry’s dependence on foreign sources. The most important materials in this project are zirconia, a transition metal oxide, and yttria, a rare earth oxide.

Many aerospace companies create their parts using molds. Yttria composes the innermost layers, and zirconia makes up the remaining layers of the shell. The team’s primary goal was to separate the zirconia and yttria from each other using physical processes rather than chemical processes and prevent the materials from being sent to landfills.

Using a physical process as opposed to a chemical process is beneficial because it doesn’t rely on damaging and dangerous chemicals that can pollute water and soil and harm animals by increasing acidity and other toxins in an environment. This team researched and designed novel physical processes that use existing technology to separate the materials for future reuse. Using these processes will allow foundries to run more independently, without relying on imports and without constantly purchasing expensive elements such as zirconium and yttrium.

Get started and sponsor a project now!

UA engineering students are ready to take your project from concept to reality.