Magnesium reinstalls magnetism in cobalt cerium | Research


American researchers have shown that the addition of magnesium to cobalt cerium (CeCo3) can turn it into a permanent magnet. The findings could help reduce pressure on the supply of rare earth elements like neodymium and dysprosium, which are found in magnets on everything from headphones and smartphones to car engines and power tools.

Iron-boron neodymium (NdFeB) is the most commonly used type of rare earth magnet and the strongest permanent magnet on the market. Thomas Lograsso of the US Department of Energy’s Ames lab and his colleagues used a number of approaches, including computer research, theoretical calculations, and high-throughput experiments, to research alternatives to these element-containing magnets. high power rare earths.

CeCo3 is non-magnetic although it contains 75% cobalt, which is one of the strongest magnetic elements on the market. Besides having this high cobalt content, which suggests a high degree of magnetism, the compound also has a non-cubic crystal structure which is anisotropic. “Our researchers then said to themselves: ‘this compound seems to have gone astray, so let’s rehabilitate it – let’s try to change its chemistry and make it ferromagnetic”, “Lograsso said when he presented the work in the spring of 2019 of the ‘American Chemical Society. meeting in Orlando, Florida.

While browsing the literature, they saw reports of adding magnesium to CeCo3 for hydrogen storage, they therefore decided to adopt this approach. “The experimental results are available, and indeed they show the characteristics – it has coercivity, which is a measure of resistance to demagnetization, it shows sufficiently high magnetization,” Lograsso said.

He acknowledged that the material would not replace NdFeB permanent magnets, but said it could work in niche applications and perhaps replace some low-end magnets.

Lograsso further suggested that the material could serve as a so-called gap magnet, as its performance falls between non-rare-earth-carrying magnets and magnets containing rare-earth elements. The development of such an air gap magnet could replace 10,000 to 20,000 tonnes of neodymium, he estimated. “Right now, if you’re in the middle, you have to use a rare earth,” Lograsso explained. “It could be a potential displacement magnet that gives you the option of not using rare earth.”

Correction: A quote was updated on June 7, 2019 because a word was incorrectly transcribed


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