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Influence of the Composition on the Environmental Impact of Soft Ferrites
1 , * 2 , 1 , 2
1  BSH Electrodomésticos España S.A.
2  University of Zaragoza


The aim of this paper is to better understand the influence of the composition on the environmental impact of soft ferrite magnetic materials. Magnetically soft ferrites are ceramic homogeneous materials that have a cubic crystal structure. Soft ferrites have low coercitivity with a high resistivity, low losses and high permeability, and are commonly used in high frequency applications. A life cycle assessment (LCA) has been carried out analyzing EcoInvent average ferrite dataset and updating it with material compositions of manganese-zinc (MnZn) ferrites, one of the major categories of soft ferrites. MnZn ferrites use iron oxide as their main component adding manganese oxide (17%-24.5% in weight) and zinc oxide (6.5%-14% in weight). Depending on their composition, their magnetical properties change (such as permeability, losses, Curie temperature…). The influence of the material composition has been assessed, obtaining more knowledge of their environmental impact. The main environmental problem that generates the use of soft ferrites, under ReCiPe methodology, is in the metal depletion category. Ferrites use in their composition metals that are scarce, such as Manganese. Manganese is included in the 2017 EU strategic materials list due to its high economic importance in the EU industry, and also its supply risk. The software used to develop the LCA model was SimaPro 8.4, with EcoInvent v3.4 life cycle inventory database. Both are currently the most used tools to evaluate environmental impact in the LCA scientific community. By means of the performed LCA, environmental impact values under ReCiPe methodology will be obtained to assess the influence of the composition on the overall impact. This analysis shows the large influence of material composition on the environmental impact of ferrites, allowing engineers and material scientist to choose between different ones taking also into account its sustainability.

Keywords: Soft ferrites, magnetic materials, MnZn, material composition, environmental impact
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