Carbon Based Magnets for Energy Production and Conversion
Amongst the main industrial uses of magnetic materials we find power generation and conversion; this includes applications from microactuators to wind turbines. These structures make use of rare earths (REs) such as dysprosium, samarium or neodymium to enhance the natural magnetism found in the transition metals iron, cobalt and nickel. Adding RE minerals increases vastly the amount of energy that it is possible to store in a magnet, and therefore its efficiency. World demand for REs is estimated at over 200 ktons/year and it has increased monotonically for the last 30 years. Of the total production of REs, 21% were used in magnets in 2010, increasing to an estimated 26% by 2015. REs are expensive, dangerous to process and difficult to recycle –less than 1% are reused. Reducing our dependence on these materials would have huge economical, societal and political repercussions. We have pioneered research in the use of carbon based molecules to enhance the quantum interactions behind itinerant magnetism, resulting in an induced magnetisation in normal metals and increasing the energy product of transition metals. This project aims to replace REs in magnets by carbon nanomaterials in collaboration with researchers at the US and in Europe. The world-class sample fabrication and magnetometry facilities at Leeds will also be key in the study, and will be used in parallel with experiments at large scale facilities. The final goal is to produce lighter, eco-friendly and powerful magnets fabricated from abundant elements.
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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