Rare-Earth free Permanent Magnets
This research line intends to find permanent magnet alternatives to the controversial rare earth-based magnets. We work actively in collaboration with international research centers and companies in the search of improved and novel permanent magnet materials. Our research is based on three main pillars:
- Development of basic research and its translation to industry and end-users.
- Up-scalability of the procedures to avoid that achieved advances stop at the laboratory.
- Sustainability through recycling and efficient use of the resources.
Permanent magnets (PMs) are used in a multitude of energy-related technological applications (renewable energy, automotive and aerospatial industry, generators, home appliances…) and cannot be substituted without an increased cost and/or a detrimental performance of the devices. These PMs contain strategic raw materials [heavy and light rare-earths (REs)] as fundamental constituents.
The increased need (7% annual) of permanent magnets in combination with the strategically geographical situation of REs (especially heavy REs) make mandatory, first, an efficient and well focused use of these elements for specific purposes (high performing applications or micro-scalable devices) and, additionally, a reinforcement in the search of permanent magnets alternatives in applications areas where the use of REs may be reduced or totally avoided. Successful achievement of these alternatives will also result in an added important benefit by reducing significantly the environmental impact of the permanent magnets sector development.
Directly related to the topic, we have launched 2 patent applications in 2016-2017 and we have participated in one more. An industrial contract has been signed in 2017 with the multinational Höganäs AB.
we have participated in one more. An industrial contract has been signed in 2017 with the multinational Höganäs AB.
|Figure 1. Coercivity development in nanocrystalline MnAl particles achieved by the innovative rapid-milling procedure (30-270 s) followed by reduced-temperature annealing (365ºC/10min). Published in J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 50, 105004 (2017).|