Permanent magnetic materials find wide applications in energy generation. The materials providing best performances (e.g., high energy product), such as NdFeB, contains a large weight percentage of rare earth metals. As rare earth materials are critical materials and is projected to face a shortage in supply, DOE has invested considerable resources to find substitute materials for the rare earth based permanent magnetic materials in a recent APRPA-E REACT call. Alnico, an alloy of Fe-Co-Ni-Al, had been the state-of-the-art permanent magnetic material prior to the discovery of rare earth permanent magnetic materials. Most recently, theoretical computation work has predicted an optimized model offering the best properties. However, the actual micro structure reported in literature differs from this prediction. We are using Advance Manufacturing techniques to test a wide variety of potential chemistries for new alloys. This project will require developing methods to systematically prepare and test large number of new compounds.
Mentor: Matthew Kramer, program director, Materials Sciences and Engineering, Ames Laboratory