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Towards Production of Bulk Phase, Rare Earth-Free Magnets

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Towards production of bulk phase, rare earth-free magnets via novel nanocarbon-metal hybrids with high energy products at room temperature:
Magnetic materials are used for power generation and conversion applications. Adding rare earths (REs) increases vastly the amount of energy that can be stored in a magnet and therefore its efficiency, but there are several disadvantages (e.g. processing, environmental, supply chain) to the use of REs. This PhD studentship therefore aims to develop alternative, RE-free magnetic materials based on nanocarbon-metal hybrid materials that retain high magnetic energy products even at relatively high temperatures.

We have pioneered research in the use of carbon-based molecules to enhance the quantum interactions behind magnetism, resulting e.g. in the induced magnetisation of normal metals. Recently, we measured a molecule-metal bilayer whose low temperature coercivity of 1.6 T and energy product of 350 kJ/m3 rivals or even exceeds those of RE magnets. This studentship will research composites in bulk phase that could exhibit this behaviour at higher temperatures. The goal is to increase by a factor of 10 the room temperature energy product of nanocarbon-Fe and/or Co hybrids. This would result in lighter, eco-friendly and powerful magnets fabricated from abundant elements.

This project is available as one of five PhD studentships with the Bragg Centre to tackle fundamental and applied problems to create new and improve existing materials. These will address fundamental and applied problems across design, characterisation, fabrication and modelling. The Centre comprises around 150 members from over ten Schools and has had continued investment in excellent facilities and infrastructure, including a new building opening in 2020, to ensure that our staff and students benefit from state-of-the-art, high quality equipment and laboratories. We are a founding partner of the Henry Royce Institute, the UK’s Institute for Advanced Materials.

Funding Notes

UK/EU – Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership funding for 3.5 years. A full standard studentship consists of academic fees (£4,600 in Session 2020/21), together with a maintenance grant (£15,009 in Session 2019/20) paid at standard Research Council rates. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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