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Pitt and Alcoa Team to Develop Sustainably Produced Magnets

Posted on: 07/08/2014
A more energy-efficient and less time-consuming method to produce permanent magnets for power generation in machines from electric cars to windmills is the potential of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant recently awarded to engineering researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and Alcoa Technical Center in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. The formal name of the project is “Manufacturing of Nanostructure-Enhanced Mn-Al-base Materials via Modulated Machining and Thermomechanical Consolidation for High-Performance Magnets.”

The interdisciplinary academia-industry team will use a novel machining-based process combined with low-temperature consolidation to generate dense bulk ferromagnetic aggregates, or permanent magnets, for high-performance applications. The research will explore the effective manufacture of rare-earth-metal-free magnetic materials, which are considered critical to technologies used in the conversion between mechanical work and electrical power, as well as in power transmission and distribution. The improved manufacture of permanent magnet materials based on abundant ingredients can positively impact the development of sustainable energy technologies from turbine power generation to electric vehicle battery charging.

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