Since its development in the 1960s, SmCo magnets have always been the main force of modern technology, and their strength is second only to neodymium magnets. They are extremely resistant to demagnetization and can withstand high temperatures and corrosion.The high magnetic power density and excellent temperature stability make SmCo magnets the first choice for many applications, including military, spacecraft, aerospace and marine applications.
A disadvantage of SmCo magnets? They are very brittle. The process of pressing metal powders into solid blocks is called sintering, making them easy to chip and crack during the manufacturing process, and will fail in any environment with excessive vibration or mechanical shock.Cui Baozhi, a scientist at the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), said: "The structural fragility of these magnets causes a lot of waste in the manufacturing process and limits their application in many technologies, otherwise they would be a good choice." The team researching ways to make rare earth permanent magnets stronger, more efficient, mechanically stronger and more cost-effective.
"In the magnet market, this is a real niche market with great opportunities." said Melania Jasinski, director of engineering at Electronic Energy Corporation (EEC), a major domestic producer of SmCo magnets. "Therefore, the company is very interested in it. Optimize our production. We look forward to a fruitful cooperation with Ames."
CMI funded and developed the technology to produce stronger SmCo magnets. CMI is a public/private partnership that brings together experts from the US Department of Energy’s national laboratories, universities and industry partners (including EEC) to work together Innovative technical solutions, supply chain challenges.Ames Laboratory and the European Economic Community (EEC) will work together to improve the magnet, and the laboratory will optimize the material, and the manufacturer will adjust it to cost-effective industrial-scale production. It is expected to start work in December 2020.
In order to achieve these R&D goals, the laboratory received a $250,000 award in June 2020, which is part of the $33 million funding provided by the US Department of Energy's Office of Technology Conversion (OTT) Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). TCF promotes the commercialization of promising energy technologies and strengthens the cooperative relationship between the US Department of Energy’s National Laboratories and private companies to promote the technologies to the market. Participating companies provide matching funds.