Key Materials Institute develops cheaper 3D printed magnets
3D printing is a magical technology that can be used in almost every industry you can think of, from simple plastic or pure metal. However, materials used to make special properties such as electrical conductivity and magnetic properties may still have a long way to go. Many researchers have developed different methods for 3D printed magnets. The most recent organization contributing to this field is the US Department of Energy's Key Materials Research Institute (CMI) using 3D laser metal printing technology to optimize permanent magnet materials. This material may be a more economical alternative to expensive rare earth neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnets for certain applications. The alloy used in CMI consists of niobium, a relatively inexpensive and rare rare earth element, as well as cobalt, iron and copper. Researchers 3D printed a variety of samples showing a range of ingredients.
“This is a known magnet material, but we want to revisit it and see if we can find better magnetism,” said CMI scientist Ryan Ott. “With four elements, there are a lot of works to choose from. Using 3D printing greatly speeds up the search process.” It can take several weeks to produce magnets using traditional production methods, but 3D printing takes only two hours. . The researchers identified the most promising samples and then made a second set of samples using traditional casting methods and compared them to the original samples to see the difference between them.
CMI scientist Ikenna Nlebedim said: "Because of the need to develop the necessary microstructures, the use of laser printing to identify potential permanent magnet phases of bulk materials is very challenging. "But this research shows that additive manufacturing can be a fast economy. An effective tool for manufacturing permanent magnet alloys. ”
The study was documented in a paper entitled "Rapid Evaluation of Ce-Co-Fe-Cu Systems for Permanent Magnet Applications," by F. Meng, RP Chaudhary, K. Ganhda, IC Nlebedim, A. Palasyuk, E. .Simsek, MJKramer and RTOtt. "The array of bulk samples with controlled composition was synthesized by laser engineering mesh forming (LENS) by adding different proportions of alloy powder to a molten pool produced by a laser," the paper explains. "Based on the magnetic evaluation of LENS printed samples, arc melting and ingots with different compositions of Fe (5-20 at. %) and Co (60-45 at. %) were prepared while maintaining a constant Ce (16 at%) and Cu (19 at%) content. The microstructure and phase evolution of different chemical compositions and their dependence on magnetic properties were analyzed in as-cast and heat-treated samples. In LENS printing and casting samples, we found the best magnetic correspondence. In the main single-phase Ce(CoFeCu)5 microstructure, high coercivity (Hc>10kOe) can be achieved without any microstructure refinement."
The Key Materials Institute is the Energy Innovation Center led by the US Department of Energy's Ames Lab, supported by the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. CMI is investigating how to reduce or eliminate dependence on rare earth metals and other materials that are currently critical to clean energy.