Toshiba engineers design around the Chinese induced shortage with science and new technology.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Aug 17, 2012
Toshiba Develops Dysprosium-free Samarium-Cobalt Magnet to Replace Heat-resistant Neodymium Magnet in Essential Applications
Toshiba has recently developed a high-iron concentration samarium-cobalt magnet that is free of “dysprosium
”, a rare earth mineral that is in extremely short supply and very expensive. At typical operating temperatures, the samarium-cobalt magnet has superior magnetic properties to the heat-resistant neodymium magnets currently used in motors.
The traction motors for hybrid and electric automobiles, railroad vehicles and the motors for industrial equipment operate at relatively high temperatures, and heat-resistant neodymium magnets are generally used in these applications. However, dysprosium is a key material of these magnets. Current sources of dysprosium are limited, and recent export limitations and price increases by the Chinese is raising global concerns about actual near future shortages. In these circumstances, the development of dysprosium-free high performance magnets that offer a strong magnetic force at high operating temperatures is an important objective for industry.
To design around the phony shortage problem, Toshiba used heat-treatment technology to improve the magnetic force of the samarium-cobalt magnet, and in doing so has boosted its performance to a level surpassing that of the heat-resistant neodymium magnet
. The high-iron concentration samarium-cobalt magnet exceeds the heat-resistant neodymium magnet in magnetic force by 1% at an operating temperature of 100°Celsius by and 5% at 150°C. Toshiba achieved this by reducing the oxide and the phase with high copper concentrations in the magnet, both of which inhibit magnetic force, and by increasing the amount of iron in the magnet from 15% to 20% by weight.
Toshiba said it has verified the performance of the new magnet in motors for automobiles, locomotives, machine tools and elevators, confirming that it has almost the same capabilities as heat-resistant neodymium magnets of the same size. The magnet is highly suited to motors that must combine high heat resistance with high performance and a small size.
Toshiba plans to start mass production of the magnet by the end of their current fiscal year and promote its use in all applicable equipment suited for this new magnets composition within a specific motor sized for a given application.
The development of magnet and motor was supported by Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization's (NEDO) Rare Metal Substitute Materials Development Project. <-- This is the way a modern economy or country dependant on high tech markets circumvents falsely controlled supply of critical materials. I wonder what we are motor manufacturers are doing?