The magnets on a hard drive are great because they are very strong Neodymium which is able to hold anything firmly in place. So recycling magnetic materials from old hard drives is a useful and resource-saving move.

An important reason why a hard disk drive (HDD) can be used to save data is the magnetic materials. Well, Neodymium is used widely as the HDD magnets and it can actually hold anything firmly for a very long time. Thus, it’s beneficial to recycle Neodymium, the HDD magnets. This is a good way of hard drive disposal.

As for how to recycle HDD magnets, a lot of people are working on it.

recycle HDD magnets

New Finding on Recycling HDD Magnets

Recently, a research team at Ames Laboratory, Iowa State University, USA has found a new process to recycle the hard drive magnets. This team is led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI). It finally finds a way to reuse the magnets (which are scarce): extracting them from the discarded hard disk drives so as to make new magnetic materials.

This is considered to be an economical and environmentally friendly action.

Warning: Please remember to recover data from a hard drive before recycling hard drive magnets, since it will cause irreversible damage to hard drive and anything saved on it. It is considered as a top way to destroy data on hard drive. If your computer couldn’t boot up, please get the solutions for hard drive recovery without OS.

Hard Drive Disposal Process

Now, let me walk you through the process in brief.

In this new process, the HDD magnets are collected from the discarded hard drive HDD magnets and the protective coatings are removed. Then, they crush the magnets into a powder placed onto a substrate using a plasma spray. In this way, the coatings of 0.5-1 mm thick can be synthesized. It is said that the properties of the end product are customizable, which is decided by the processing controls.

A member of the CMI research team working at Ames Laboratory – Ryan Ott – said that this new process can be used to take advantage of the growing number of quantities of discarded electronics globally. And the very large quantities of the discarded HDDs form an important component. A valuable supply of the precious magnets can be supplied by the relatively centralized scrap source.

Tip: 1. About Ames Laboratory: it is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory. Aiming at solving pressing global challenges, it creates innovative materials, energy solutions and technologies.
Tip: 2. About CMI: it is a Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by Ames Laboratory and it is supported by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. The early-stage survey of advance innovation in the US manufacturing is supported so that the country’s economic growth and energy security can be well promoted.

Benefits of the New Approach

Here we have eliminated as many processing steps as we can, and go straight from the discarded magnet to an end product, which is a new magnet. The waste reduction aspect of this process is really two-fold; we’re not only reusing end-of-life magnets, we are also reducing the amount of manufacturing waste produced in making thin and small geometry magnets out of larger bulk materials.– Ott stated said

He also explains that some other ways of extracting the magnets from drop-off electronic products will result in unwanted byproducts and a negative environmental impact.

Besides, the new magnetic material, generated by using the old magnets got from the discarded HDD, doesn’t keep the exceptional magnetic properties. This gives it the potential for meeting the market’s needs for economical solution in programs as long as the high-strength magnets are not required.

What’s more, this new process is able to offer an efficient solution for the manufacture of small and strong magnets, which could be applied to devices like hand-held electronics.

And finally, I want to say that the best way to destroy a hard drive is destroying the magnets.

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