Table of contents:
- How permanent magnets can be manufactured in the future
- Alternative to neodymium-iron-boron magnets wanted
- More environmentally friendly and temperature resistant
Video: Super Magnets From The 3D Printer
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:12
Permanent magnets are an important component of many electrical products, such as wind turbines, electric motors, sensors or magnetic switching systems. The common manufacturing processes - sintering or injection molding - have disadvantages, which is why researchers at Graz University of Technology are currently researching alternative processes.
How permanent magnets can be manufactured in the future
Due to the increasing miniaturization of electronics and the associated geometric requirements for magnets, conventional production methods are increasingly reaching their limits. In cooperation with the Universities of Vienna and Erlangen-Nuremberg and a team from Joanneum Research, the researchers at Graz University of Technology have succeeded in producing super magnets using laser-based 3D printing. Metal powder of the magnetic material is applied in layers, the particles are bonded together by melting. This creates a component that is made entirely of metal.
The process is so sophisticated that the researchers can print magnets with a high relative density and at the same time control their microstructure. This combination enables the magnetic properties to be tailored precisely to the respective application.
Alternative to neodymium-iron-boron magnets wanted
The research group initially focused on the production of neodymium-iron-boron magnets (NdFeB magnets). Neodymium belongs to the group of so-called rare earths and, due to its chemical properties, forms the basis for many strong permanent magnets that are irreplaceable in computers, smartphones and other important applications. However, there are also applications such as electric brakes, magnetic switches or certain electric motor systems in which the magnetic strength of NdFeB magnets is not required and is also not desired.
Siegfried Arneitz, PhD student at the Institute of Materials Science, Joining Technology and Forming Technology at Graz University of Technology, is therefore continuing to work on 3D-printed magnets - building on the previous research results. In his dissertation, Arneitz is dedicated to the 3D printing of iron and cobalt-based magnets (Fe-Co magnets). The researchers describe their work in detail in the Journal Materials.
More environmentally friendly and temperature resistant
These are promising alternatives to NdFeB magnets. In two respects: The mining of rare earths is complex and not sustainable, the recycling of these metals is still in its infancy. Fe-Co-based magnets, on the other hand, are far less harmful to the environment.
In addition, rare earth metals lose their magnetic properties with increasing temperature, while special Fe-Co based alloys retain their magnetic performance even at temperatures of 200 to 400 degrees Celsius and are characterized by good temperature stability.
First results make Arneitz confident: “Previous theoretical calculations have shown that the magnetic properties of these materials can even be increased by two to three times. With the freedom of design that 3D printing offers, we are confident that we can get closer to this goal.”The goal is to offer alternative magnetic materials for those areas in which neodymium-iron-boron magnets are not necessary.