Home Research & Education MIT researchers develop 3D printing method for electromagnets

MIT researchers develop 3D printing method for electromagnets

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a method that allows complex electromagnetic coils to be produced in a single step using 3D printing.

Such coils are an elementary component in many electronic devices, from dialysis machines to ventilators and washing machines. They generate a magnetic field through a current-carrying conductor. However, integrating the coils into electronic circuits poses difficulties.

To overcome this, the MIT researchers modified a 3D printer with four nozzles to be able to precisely layer three different materials on top of each other: An insulating material, a conductive wire for the coil and a magnetic core. This made it possible to print compact magnetic core solenoids in a single step, without the need for time-consuming post-processing.

Compared to conventional 3D printing processes, significantly more powerful materials and therefore smaller dimensions with higher magnetic field strength could be realized. This should be sufficient for applications such as sensors or robotics.

“There is no reason to manufacture high-performance hardware in just a few production centers if the demand is global,” says project manager Luis Fernando Velásquez-García from MIT. “Additive manufacturing can play a huge role in democratizing these technologies.”

The researchers now want to further increase performance by optimizing materials and process temperatures. According to Velásquez-García, the medium-term goal is to produce entire devices using 3D printing, which could be particularly interesting for hard-to-reach areas on Earth or space missions.

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