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The importance of the pretreatment of samples in Nd quantification from NdFeB magnets through inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES)-a rapid and streamlined methodology.

In this study, we emphasize the critical role of sample pretreatment. We report on the behavior of NdFeB magnet samples exposed to four different acid media for digestion. NdFeB magnets are becoming a significant source of neodymium, a rare-earth element critical to many technologies and a potential substitute for traditional mining of the element. To address this, we meticulously tested nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, acetic acid, and citric acid, all at a concentration of 1.6 M, as economical and environmentally friendly alternatives to the concentrated mineral acids commonly used in the leaching of these materials. The pivotal stage involves the initial characterization of samples in the solid state using SEM-EDX and XPS analysis to obtain their initial composition. Subsequently, the samples are dissolved in the four aforementioned acids. Finally, neodymium is quantified using ICP-OES. Throughout our investigation, we evaluated some analytical parameters to determine the best candidate for performing the digestion, including time, limits of detection and quantification, accuracy, recovery of spike samples, and robustness. After careful consideration, we unequivocally conclude that 1.6 M nitric acid stands out as the optimal choice for dissolving NdFeB magnet samples, with the pretreatment of the samples being the critical aspect of this report.

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