- Number 351 |
- November 28, 2011
Cooking up new recipes for permanent magnets
Ames Laboratory scientists will
lead research to develop
magnets using the rare-earth
element cerium. Cerium is four
times more abundant than
neodymium, which is the critical
element used in today’s
permanent magnets. Ames Lab
is also working to develop
rare-earth free magnets based
The Ames Laboratory was selected for funding for two cutting-edge research projects by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program.
The first of the two projects is for research to develop a new class of high-energy permanent magnets using the rare-earth element cerium. Cerium is four times more abundant than the rare-earth element neodymium, which is critical for today’s permanent magnets. The research will look at combining other metals with cerium to create a new, powerful magnet with high-temperature stability for electric vehicle motors. Partners in the project will also include General Motors, NovaTorque and Molycorp Minerals.
The $2.2 million research project is for three years and will be led by Ames Laboratory senior metallurgist Bill McCallum, who says General Motors and NovaTorque will evaluate the material for traction motors in vehicles while Molycorp will provide the important materials supply chain and development path for commercialization of these materials.
In the second project, Ames Laboratory scientists will team with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on research to reduce dependence on critical materials like rare earths by developing a new alternative to rare-earth permanent magnets that use manganese. These manganese composite magnets hold the potential to double the magnetic strength of current rare-earth magnets while using raw materials that are inexpensive and abundant.
[Breehan Gerleman Lucchesi, 515.294.9750,