China’s first rare-earth heat insulation facility to be constructed
Global Times

Rare earth (File photo: Agencies)

Baotou Research Institute of Rare Earth (BRIRE) in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and a tech firm in Chengdu from Southwest China's Sichuan Province plan to build a rare-earth heat-insulation material facility, which has attracted 20 million yuan ($3.09 million) of investment in its first phase and can produce 800 kilograms per month, the Science and Technology Daily reported on Sunday.

Yin Jian from BRIRE explained that by using a unique electronic structure and physical and chemical properties of rare earths, the research team has developed kilogram-scale production methods of rare-earth heat-insulating material below 100 nanometers. Various types of heat-insulating agents and powders are made base on the methods, said Yin.

Independent rare-earth market observer Wu Chenhui told the Global Times that at present there are two temperature related methodologies by adding rare-earth elements but not close to heat-insulation material. "Dysprosium and terbium can improve the heat resistant of rare-earth material and gadolinium can be used for induction heating and cooling," said Wu. He noted that using rare-earth to made heat-insulation material is a new innovation.

The heat-insulation materials can be used in interlayer films for laminated glass or directly coat on plastics, films, displays, energy-saving windows for buildings, and automobile windshields. The coated material can shield ultraviolet and infrared, and have advantages such as heat-insulation, transparency and weather resistance in different climates, said the report.

The core techniques and intellectual properties of heat-insulation interlayer film for laminated glass are held by developed countries US and Japan. The domestic made heat-insulation material has the same or even better properties than imported material, which can fill the technique blank in this field and will serve a growing domestic demand, said the report.

Chen Zhanheng, deputy head of Association of China Rare Earth Industry ACREI told the Global Times that the break of foreign monopoly in this area is significant for the industry. "The raw materials for making the heat-insulation material are in surplus in China, so the related industry chain will be well developed," said Chen.