Scientists at Ural Federal University in Russia have developed a nanocrystalline metal powder that is suitable for the 3D printing of permanent magnets. According to the university, this could enable the production of more efficient magnets without rare earths.
The powder is based on an iron-neodymium-boron alloy (Nd-Fe-B), which has a high magnetic energy density. In tests in 2020, the team already succeeded in producing the first permanent magnets without cobalt using 3D printing.
For the current study, the researchers led by Dr. Alexei Volegov specifically investigated the influence of the microstructure on the magnetic properties. The results should help to develop customized powders for different applications.
Further tests after 3D printing should now show whether the printed magnets come close to the properties of the bulk magnets. The aim is to make the use of the new materials suitable for magnetic 3D printing, says Volegov. The scientists see potential applications in electric motors, generators, robotics and medical technology.
The research was funded by the Russian Science Foundation. The results were published in the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials under the title “Magnetization reversal processes of nanostructured PrFeB alloys“.